Autos Carry Weak U.S. December Industrial Production - Modern Distribution Management

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Autos Carry Weak U.S. December Industrial Production

The indexes of business equipment, construction supplies and business supplies all registered slight monthly declines in December.
American Flag flying in front of manufacturing factory

Automotive manufacturing carried an otherwise weak December for U.S. industrial production, according to Federal Reserve data released Jan. 17.

The Fed’s latest Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization report showed that industrial production moved up 0.1% in December month-to-month following a 0.2% increase in November, and increased 1.0% year-over-year, while fourth quarter industrial production declined 3.1% year-over-year. Manufacturing output ticked up 0.1% in December following a 0.2% increased in November.

The December index for utilities declined 1.0% in December, while the index for mining rose 0.9%.

At 102.5% of its 2017 average, total U.S. industrial production in Decenber was 1% above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization was unchanged in December at 78.6% — a rate that is 1.1 percentage points below its long-run (1972-2022) average).

Market Groups

Market groups posted mixed production results in December, with consumer goods up 0.2% month-to-month, largely from gains in durable consumer goods, while nondurable consumer goods were flat. 

The indexes of business equipment, construction supplies and business supplies all registered slight declines. The output of defense and space equipment rose 0.5% in december and was up 9.1% year-over-year in the fourth quarter. Materials output edged up 0.1%.

Industry Groups

While December manufacturing output was up 0.1%, strong automotive performance asked an otherwise weak month for the sector, which declined 2.2% annually in 2023’s fourth quarter. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, December factory output declined 0.1% month–to-month and 0.3% in 4Q23 year-over-year. 

The December index for durable manufacturing fell 0.4% month-to-month, while nondurable rose 0.6%. Within durables, declines of more than 1% were recorded by wood products, fabricated metal products, machinery and by electrical equipment, appliances and components.

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