Manufacturing output rose 0.4% in September, topping estimates from some experts who expected lower levels of production, according to media reports and data released Oct. 17 by the Federal Reserve.
Industrial production increased 0.3% during the month and advanced at an annual rate of 2.5% in the third quarter, the Fed said. The index for mining moved up 0.4%, and the index for utilities decreased 0.3%.
At 103.6% of its 2017 average, total industrial production in September was 0.1% above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization moved up 0.2 percentage points to 79.7% in September, a rate that is equal to its long-run (1972–2022) average.
Reuters reported that the rise in manufacturing occurred despite an ongoing United Auto Workers strike, “further evidence that the economy exited the third quarter with momentum.” Economists polled by Reuters had anticipated that factory output would tick up 0.1%.
Most major market groups recorded gains in September, according to the Fed. The index for consumer durables rose 1.2% “amid widespread increases in its components.” However, the index for consumer nondurable goods was unchanged, as a gain in chemical products was offset by a decline in energy nondurable goods.
The production of business equipment dropped 0.7%, while the index for defense and space equipment recorded its fifth consecutive monthly gain of at least 1%. Within materials, the index for non-energy durables rose 0.8%, and the index for non-energy nondurables increased 0.5%.
Federal data for August also was revised lower to show production at factories dipping 0.1% instead of increasing 0.1%, as previously reported.