2017 Economic Calendar
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Industrial Production  
Released On 4/18/2017 9:15:00 AM For Mar, 2017
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Production - M/M change0.0 %0.1 %0.4 %-0.1 % to 1.1 %0.5 %
Manufacturing - M/M0.5 %0.3 %0.1 %-0.7 % to 0.4 %-0.4 %
Capacity Utilization Rate - Level75.4 %75.7 %76.0 %75.5 % to 76.6 %76.1 %

A weather-related surge in utility output masks what is otherwise a weak industrial production report for March. Total production rose 0.5 percent on a record 8.6 percent increase at utilities. But manufacturing production, where a small gain was expected, fell 0.4 percent in what likely reflects Category 3 storm Stella which hit the Northeast at mid-month. And in another negative, February's initial and strong 0.5 percent rise is revised to a more moderate 0.3 percent gain.

The production of business equipment remains very weak, down 0.4 percent in March, while construction supplies, which have been relatively strong, fell 0.8 percent. Vehicle manufacturing also slowed in line with what have been very weak sales this year. Positives include strength for hi-tech and consumer goods.

The third component of this report is mining which has been coming back alive in recent months but not in March where volumes rose only 0.1 percent. But it's manufacturing that represents the vast core of this report and it points to a quarter-end fizzle for a factory sector where unusually strong readings in sentiment reports have not panned out to strength in definitive data like today's report. Hopefully the March weakness will be reversed in force during the spring.

Note that the surge in utility production, tied to March's heavy weather vs February's unusual warmth, is the highest in records going back to 1939. Also note that traditional non-NAICS numbers for industrial production may differ marginally from NAICS basis figures.

Consensus Outlook
Hours worked in the factory sector fell sharply in March likely tied to the Category 3 storm Stella that swept the Northeast at mid-month. Though fewer hours point to reduced volumes, forecasters are calling for a 0.1 percent rise in manufacturing production. Yet the consensus range is wide with the low estimate at minus 0.7 percent. The headline for industrial production is expected to rise 0.4 percent boosted by a bounce back for utility production which fell very sharply during February's warmth. Capacity utilization is seen rising 76.0 percent from 75.4 percent.

The Federal Reserve's monthly index of industrial production and the related capacity indexes and capacity utilization rates cover manufacturing, mining, and electric and gas utilities. The industrial sector, together with construction, accounts for the bulk of the variation in national output over the course of the business cycle. The production index measures real output and is expressed as a percentage of real output in a base year, currently 2012. The capacity index, which is an estimate of sustainable potential output, is also expressed as a percentage of actual output in 2012. The rate of capacity utilization equals the seasonally adjusted output index expressed as a percentage of the related capacity index.

The index of industrial production is available nationally by market and industry groupings. The major groupings are comprised of final products (such as consumer goods, business equipment and construction supplies), intermediate products and materials. The industry groupings are manufacturing (further subdivided into durable and nondurable goods), mining and utilities. The capacity utilization rate -- reflecting the resource utilization of the nation's output facilities -- is available for the same market and industry groupings.

Industrial production was also revised to NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) in the early 2000s. Unlike other economic series that lost much historical data prior to 1992, the Federal Reserve Board was able to reconstruct historical data that go back more than 30 years.  Why Investors Care
The industrial sector accounts for less than 20 percent of GDP. Yet, it creates much of the cyclical variability in the economy.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
The capacity utilization rate reflects the limits to operating the nation's factories, mines and utilities. In the past, supply bottlenecks created inflationary pressures as the utilization rate hit 84 to 85 percent.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2017 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/182/153/174/185/166/157/148/179/1510/1711/1612/15
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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