U.S. Industrial Production Decreases

But manufacturing increased 0.7%

After an increase of 0.8% in February, U.S. industrial production dropped 0.2% in March. Looking at the manufacturing sector, there was an increase of 0.7% lead by advances in the production of durable goods according to the Department of Labor.

"Although the overall industrial index fell by 0.2%, due largely to the decline in output by the utility sector, the April report provides solid evidence that manufacturing sector activity is on the rise," said Don Norman, economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. Production from durable goods manufacturing industries did even better, rising by 0.9%. Capacity utilization increased from 79.7% in February to 80.1%. The relatively high rate of capacity utilization should spur additional capital spending."

The output of home electronics jumped for a second consecutive month because of continued gains in computers produced for households. Also within consumer durables, the indexes for automotive products and for miscellaneous goods increased, while the index for appliances, furniture, and carpeting decreased.

The output of non-energy nondurables rose 0.6%, as a decline in clothing was more than offset by increases in foods and tobacco, in chemical products, and in paper products.

The output of business equipment moved up 0.8% in March; gains were recorded in transit equipment, in industrial and other equipment and in information processing equipment. An increase of 1% in information processing equipment was driven in part by output gains in communications equipment and in computers produced for businesses.

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