Manufacturing Production, Capacity Use Decline

Reflecting a slowing U.S. economy, production in manufacturing declined a tenth of a percent in May, reports the Federal Reserve Board. May's was the first monthly fall in manufacturing production since February's three-tenths percent decline. The Fed's manufacturing production index now stands at 114.0.

At least among durable goods producers, the details show a mix of gains and losses, similar to the picture in the overall economy as it slows from the torrid pace of this year's first quarter. In May, machinery production fell 1.7% and auto output declined 1.3% while production of primary metals increased nearly a full percent and production of computers and electronic products advanced 1.1%.

Among U.S. manufacturers, capacity utilization in May slipped three-tenths of a percentage point to 80.5%, about the same level as in March but still above its long-term average.

Total U.S. industrial production, which in addition to manufacturing includes mining and utilities, declined a tenth of a percentage point in May to an index figure of 112.1. Industrial production had been up eight-tenths in April.

Total industry capacity utilization slipped two-tenths of a percentage point to 81.7% in May, but still remained seven-tenths of a percent above its long-term average.

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