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Industrial production rose 0.6% in August after declining 0.1% in July, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve.
Manufacturing output rose 0.5% in August, as the indexes for durables and for nondurables increased while the index for other manufacturing (publishing and logging) edged down. Production rose for most major categories within durable manufacturing. The largest gains were recorded by machinery, primary metals, and nonmetallic mineral products; the only sizable decline was recorded by motor vehicles and parts. The gain of 0.5% for nondurables reflected strength in plastics and rubber products and in chemicals; the other major nondurable goods industries registered either declines or very small increases.
Mining output increased 1.4% in August after having fallen a similar amount in July; output in July had been suppressed by a cutback in oil extraction in the Gulf of Mexico due to Hurricane Barry. The output of utilities increased 0.6%, with gains in both electric and natural gas utilities.
Capacity utilization for manufacturing increased 0.3% to 75.7% in August, a rate that is 2.6% below its long-run average. The operating rates for both durable and nondurable manufacturing increased 0.3%. The utilization rate for mining moved up to 90.5%, a bit lower than its average in the three months before Hurricane Barry but 3.4% higher than its long-run average. The rate for utilities increased 0.3% but remained well below its long-run average.
Factory output has increased 0.2% per month over the past four months after having decreased 0.5% per month during the first four months of the year. In August, the indexes for utilities and mining moved up 0.6% and 1.4%, respectively. At 109.9% of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 0.4% higher in August than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.4% in August to 77.9%, a rate that is 1.9%age points below its long-run (1972–2018) average.