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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

March 2012 Industrial Production, Capacity Utilization and Capacity

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Industrial production was unchanged in March for a second month but rose at an annual rate of 5.4 percent in 1Q2012. Manufacturing output declined 0.2 percent in March but jumped 10.4 percent at an annual rate in 1Q. The gain in manufacturing output in 1Q was broadly based: Even excluding motor vehicles and parts, which jumped at an annual rate of nearly 40 percent, manufacturing output moved up at an annual rate of 8.3 percent and output for all but a few major industries increased 5 percent or more. For the quarter, however, the output of utilities dropped at an annual rate of 13.8 percent, largely as a result of unseasonably warm temperatures over the past several months. At 96.6 percent of its 2007 average, total industrial production for March was 3.8 percent above its year-earlier level. Wood Products output rose by 0.3 percent, while Paper output fell by 0.5 percent.
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Capacity utilization for total industry edged down to 78.6 percent, a rate 2.1 percentage points (2.7 percent) above its level from a year earlier but 1.7 percentage points below its long-run (1972--2011) average. As with industrial production, capacity utilization of Wood Products and Paper was split, with Wood Products rising by 0.5 percent but Paper falling by 0.4 percent.
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Capacity at the all-industries and manufacturing levels crept higher (0.1 percent). By contrast, Wood Products and Paper both dropped: respectively, by 0.2 and 0.1 percent.

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