Total industrial production grew 1.1% in October, according to the Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization Report, released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve. The index has recovered much of its 16.5% decline from February to April, but output in October was still 5.6% lower than its pre-pandemic February level.
After edging up 0.1% in September, manufacturing output increased 1% in October. The output of utilities rose 3.9%, while the output at mines declined 0.6% to a level that was 14.4% below its year-earlier reading. At 103.2% of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 5.3% lower in October than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.8 percentage point in October to 72.8%, a rate that is 7 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2019) average but 8.6 percentage points above its low in April.
Every major market group posted gains in October. The output of consumer goods rose 0.8%, with broad-based gains among its components. After falling more than 17% between February and April, the index for consumer goods rebounded quickly and in October it was within 1.7% of its February level. The production of business equipment moved up 0.6% in October, but it was still 7.3% lower than it was in February. The indexes for defense and space equipment, construction supplies, business supplies, and materials each advanced 1% or more in October.
Manufacturing output increased 1% in October; even so, it was about 5% below its level in February. The index for durable manufacturing stepped up 0.9%, as small drops in the indexes for furniture and related products, fabricated metal products, and motor vehicles and parts were outweighed by gains elsewhere, especially for aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment and for miscellaneous manufacturing. The index for nondurables rose 1.2 percent; nearly all of its components posted gains. The output of other manufacturing (publishing and logging) fell 1.5%.
The index for utilities moved up 3.9% in October, with an increase for electric utilities more than offsetting a decrease for natural gas utilities. Mining output declined 0.6%, as oil and gas extraction fell back in October after posting a gain in September.
Capacity utilization for manufacturing rose 0.7 percentage point in October to 71.7%, 11.6 percentage points higher than its trough in April but still 6.5 percentage points below its long-run average. The utilization rate for mining declined to 77.9%, remaining below its long-run average of 87.2%. The operating rate for utilities increased to 72.7%, a rate that is 12.5 percentage points below its long-run average.