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April Auto Production Leads Growth in Industrial Output

May 17, 2022
U.S. motor vehicle output grew by almost 4% last month.

The industrial sector had a solid month for production in April. According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Federal Reserve, industrial production rose by 1.1% last month as manufacturing output increased by 0.8%. Increased auto output drove significant growth as production of motor vehicles and parts rose significantly.

In its report, the Fed noted that April now marks the fourth month in a row that has seen industrial production grow by at least 0.8%. Industrial production grew by 0.8% in January, 1.0% in February, 0.9% in March and now 1.1%. Manufacturing has driven much of the more-recent growth: Manufacturing output, which excludes mining and utilities production, fell 0.1% in January before growing 1.3% in February and 0.8% in both March and April.

In April, much of the increased factory production went towards building cars. Motor vehicles and parts production rose by 3.9%, dwarfing other manufacturing growth: Excluding auto production, factory output grew just half a percent. According to the Federal Reserve, most other durable goods industries also increased production, but by notably less than automotive manufacturers.

In nondurable goods, food and beverage production continued to grow at 0.9% last month, mostly offset by a 0.8% decrease in plastics and rubber products production.

Capacity utilization also grew in April in both industry and manufacturing specifically. Industrial businesses used an average of 79% of their capacity in April, up 0.8% from March, and manufacturing factories specifically saw capacity utilization grow 0.6% to 79.2% last month. 

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