Industrial production increased 0.6 percent in September following a gain of 0.4 percent in August.

The highlights are as follows:

The production of consumer goods increased 0.8 percent in September. The index for durable consumer goods advanced 0.7 percent in September, as a gain in the output of automotive products more than offset declines in the production of home electronics; appliances, furniture, and carpeting; and miscellaneous goods.

The production of nondurables rose 0.9 percent in September. The increase was driven by a gain in the output of energy products, which moved up 3.9 percent, while the output of non-energy nondurables decreased 0.2 percent, a third consecutive monthly decline. Within non-energy nondurables, the indices for foods and tobacco and for chemicals both declined 0.3 percent. In contrast, the output of clothing increased 1.6 percent and was 4.5 percent above its September 2012 level.
The output of business equipment moved up 1.2 percent in September. In fact, all major categories of business equipment advanced during the month. The production of transit equipment increased 2.3 percent and was 5.5 percent above its year-earlier level. Meanwhile, the output of industrial and other equipment rose 1.2 percent in September, its first monthly gain since June, and the index for information processing equipment edged up 0.1 percent in September following an increase of 1.2 percent in August. With regard to defense and space equipment, output rose 0.4 percent in September and was 1.8 percent above its September 2012 level.
Among nonindustrial supplies, the output of construction supplies moved up 0.6 percent in September, its fourth consecutive monthly increase. The production of business supplies rose 0.7 percent in September.
The output of materials to be processed further in the industrial sector increased 0.3 percent in September. The gain was primarily due to a 1 percent increase in the production of energy materials. The output of durable materials was unchanged in September following a gain of 1.2 percent in August. The production of equipment parts declined 0.2 percent in September, while the output of consumer parts and of other durable materials both edged up 0.1 percent.
Dr. Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics, put it all in perspective. “Considering the fact that facing a possible government shutdown in October, pure precautionary behavior may have held things back a bit in September,” he explained. “In this context, the September results look pretty good.”
Looking down the road, Dr. Mayland predicts October may be a “throw-away month.” After all, he says, October encompassed the 16-day partial government shutdown, so it’s reasonable to expect that event will take some toll on the data with a bounce back in November. “But with a positive inventory dynamic, and positive production ‘themes,’ it is looking like the industrial side of the economy wants to go higher.”

The full September U.S. industrial production report is available online.