Industrial Production Increases 0.7%

Manufacturing output increased 0.5%.

Industrial production increased 0.7% in April after a decrease of 0.3% in March, the Federal Reserve said on May 16.

Manufacturing output moved up 0.5% in April led by advances in motor vehicles and parts and in high-technology goods.

"The increase in April manufacturing production comes on top of a 0.6% improvement in March and puts the level of manufacturing production appreciably above the August 2006 start of this mid-cycle correction. Sentiment indicators in manufacturing indicate that firms are positive about the outlook this year and we believe that manufacturing activity will continue to post growth in the remaining three quarters of this year," said Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI.

The factory operating rate moved up to 80.2%. The production of durable goods rose 1.1% after an increase of 0.7% in March. Increases of more than 1% were recorded in the indexes for computer and electronic products; electrical equipment, appliances, and components; motor vehicles and parts; and miscellaneous manufacturing. These gains more than offset small decreases in the indexes for nonmetallic mineral products, machinery, and furniture and related products.

The index for nondurable manufacturing edged down 0.2%; declines occurred in the indexes for textile and product mills; food, beverage, and tobacco products; and petroleum and coal products. The decline of 2.8% in the production of petroleum and coal products resulted from an unusually high number of refinery shutdowns for seasonal maintenance.

The rate of capacity utilization for total industry rose 0.4 percentage point, to 81.6% a level 0.6 percentage point above its 1972-2006 average.

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