Fed Will Measure High-Tech Industry In Industrial Production Data

By BridgeNews Responding to requests for it to better measure the "new economy," the Federal Reserve is to begin aggregating the output of selected high-tech industries in its monthly industrial production report. The new practice will begin in its January report, to be released Feb. 16. While the Fed has always had the relevant figures, it has not aggregated them before. But the rapid growth of the high-tech industry prompted experts to suggest the changes. Accordingly, the Fed will report the production of the high-tech industry by aggregating data for computers and office equipment, communication tools, semiconductors, and related electronic components. In a mock version of December's report, updated to include the modifications and to be made available on the central bank's Web site early next week, the Fed calculated that the output of such firms rose 1.3% in December as overall industrial production fell 0.6%. Excluding the high-tech component, total industry output fell 1.3%.

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