The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Industrial Production Unchanged in February

Capacity utilization for total industry edged down to 78.7 percent.

Industrial production was unchanged in February after having risen 0.4 percent in January. Previously, industrial production was reported to have been unchanged in January. At 96.2 percent of its 2007 average, total industrial production for February was 4.0 percent above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for total industry edged down to 78.7 percent, a rate 1.2 percentage points above its level from a year earlier but 1.6 percentage points below its long-run (1972-2011) average.

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Manufacturing output moved up 0.3 percent in February. Within manufacturing, the index for motor vehicles and parts fell 1.1 percent after jumping 8.6 percent in January, but the index for manufacturing excluding motor vehicles and parts increased 0.4 percent in February. Production at mines fell 1.2 percent, while the output of utilities was unchanged.

Manufacturing output increased 0.3 percent in February to a level that was 5.1 percent higher than a year earlier. Production rose 1.1 percent in January, 0.4 percentage point more than reported previously; higher output of food, transportation equipment, and primary metals contributed importantly to the revision. The factory operating rate moved up 0.1 percentage point in February to 77.4 percent, a rate 13.0 percentage points above its trough in June 2009 but still 1.5 percentage points below its long-run average.

Within manufacturing, the output of durable goods increased 0.4 percent in February and was 8.5 percent above its year-earlier level. Output gains of more than 1 percent were recorded in February for nonmetallic mineral products; fabricated metal products; aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment; and electrical equipment, appliances, and components. Production declined in February for primary metals, machinery, and motor vehicles and parts; each of these indexes had risen briskly in January.

The production of nondurable goods edged up 0.1 percent in February. Among the major components of nondurables, the indexes for petroleum and coal products and for plastics and rubber products posted the largest increases. Production also rose for food, beverage, and tobacco products; textile and product mills; and paper. The only major indexes that posted declines were for apparel and leather and for chemicals. The index for other manufacturing (non-NAICS), which consists of publishing and logging, moved down 0.3 percent.

Mining production decreased 1.2 percent in February, as the extraction of natural gas declined for a second consecutive month and coal production fell. Capacity utilization in mining decreased to 90.5 percent but was still 3.1 percentage points above its long-run average. The output of utilities was unchanged, in part as temperatures in February stayed mild following an unseasonably warm January. The operating rate for utilities in February decreased to 74.3 percent, a rate 12.1 percentage points below its long-run average.

Capacity utilization rates in February at industries grouped by stage of process were as follows: At the crude stage, utilization declined 1.0 percentage point to 89.1 percent, a rate 2.7 percentage points above its long-run average; at the primary and semi-finished stages, utilization increased 0.2 percentage point to 75.2 percent, a rate 5.9 percentage points below its long-run average; and at the finished stage, utilization was steady at 78.4 percent, a rate 1.1 percentage points above its long-run average.

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