Industrial Production Rises In January

Industrial production rose 0.8% in January over the previous month, according to figures released Feb. 17 by the Federal Reserve, propelled by a 5.2% rise in utilities output. Combined with a downward revision to December's figure, overall industrial production in January was 2.4% higher than the January 2003 level. Industrial production includes manufacturing, mining and utilities. Manufacturing output also rose in January, but by a lesser amount -- 0.3%. January 2004 production was 2.3% higher than in January 2003. "This was the fifth consecutive monthly rise in manufacturing output," says Jerry Jasinowski, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Manufacturers. "The continuation of the manufacturing recovery was fueled by durable-goods production, where output rose by 0.6 in January." Machinery, motor vehicles and aerospace products all increased for a third consecutive month in January. Primary metals fell by 1.4% and home electronics dropped by 4.2%. Capacity utilization among all industries was 76.2% in January, up 1.1% from January 2003. Manufacturing capacity was 74.6%, up slightly from the revised figure of 74.4% for December 2003 and up 0.9% over the level of a year ago.

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