A newly released report from the Federal Reserve showed U.S. industrial production increased 0.3 percent in December after rising 1.0 percent in November, when production rebounded in the industries that had been negatively affected by Hurricane Sandy in late October.
Following are a few highlights from the December U.S. industrial production report:
Manufacturing production rose 0.8 percent in December after having gained 1.3 percent in November. The output of manufacturers edged up at an annual rate of 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, and factory output was little changed, on net, since the first quarter of 2012. Within manufacturing, increases were widespread in December across both durable and nondurable goods industries.
The production of durable goods advanced 1.0 percent in December and increased at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter. Output rose in December for most major categories of durables, with gains of more than 1 percent in the indices for nonmetallic mineral products, primary metals, computer and electronic products, motor vehicles and parts, and miscellaneous manufacturing. The output of fabricated metal products was unchanged in December, with the indices both for wood products and for electrical equipment, appliances, and components decreasing after having posted strong gains in November. Capacity utilization for durable goods manufacturing in December was 77.8 percent, a rate 0.7 percentage point above its long-run average.
The indices for most major categories of nondurables increased in December, although those for textile and product mills and for paper declined. Advances of more than 1 percent were recorded for apparel and leather, for printing and related support activities, and for chemicals. Capacity utilization for nondurable manufacturing was 78.3 percent, a rate 2.6 percentage points below its long-run average.
The output of durable consumer goods increased 1.2 percent in December, as gains in automotive products and in home electronics more than offset declines in the indices for appliances, furniture, and carpeting and for miscellaneous durable goods. Meanwhile, the output of nondurable consumer goods decreased 0.5 percent in December, with declines concentrated in the production of consumer energy products, which fell 4.4 percent. Among non-energy nondurables, output increased in all major categories, with gains of more than 1 percent in the indices for clothing, for chemical products, and for paper products.
The output of business equipment moved up 1.3 percent in December following a rise of 2.0 percent in November, but it was little changed for the fourth quarter as a whole. All major categories of business equipment advanced in December. For the fourth quarter, the production of transit equipment moved up at an annual rate of 6.5 percent. The indices both for information processing equipment and for industrial and other equipment decreased at an annual rate of 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter.
The index for defense and space equipment increased 0.4 percent in December, but it declined at an annual rate of 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter. Output in December was 2.2 percent above its year-earlier level.
For the fourth quarter as a whole, total industrial production moved up at an annual rate of 1.0 percent.
The complete December 2012 U.S. industrial production report, which features historical metrics and revisions, is available online.