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Economic Watch: Industrial Production Posts Best Gain in a Year

December 16, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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Industrial production in the United States last month grew at its fastest pace in a year with output increasing past a pre-recession peak, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve.

This measure of the total output at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities increased 1.1% in November from October, while the October figure was revised upward to a 0.1% hike from a first reported 0.1% drop. The gain in November was the largest since November 2012.

Manufacturing output increased 0.6% in November for its fourth consecutive monthly gain. Production at mines advanced 1.7% to more than reverse a decline of 1.5% in October. The index for utilities was up 3.9% in November, as colder-than-average temperatures boosted demand for heating

Compared to November 2012, U.S. industrial production is 3.2% higher.

“It does suggest that the manufacturing sector is gaining a little bit of momentum. You’ve got a decent underlying picture of respectable, if not terribly rapid, growth.” said David Sloan, a senior economist at 4cast Inc. in New York, in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. 

In November, industrial production surpassed for the first time its pre-recession peak of December 2007 and was 21% above its trough of June 2009.

Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.8% points in November to 79%, a rate 1.2% points below its 1972–2012 average.

The production of consumer goods increased 1.5% in November and stood 2.7% above its level of a year earlier. The output of durable consumer goods rose 2.2%, and all of its major components registered gains of 1% or more. The largest increases were in the production of automotive products, which rose 3.3% and in the production of home electronics, which moved up 2.6%.

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