2018 Economic Calendar
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Industrial Production  
Released On 4/17/2018 9:15:00 AM For Mar, 2018
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Production - M/M change1.1 %1.0 %0.4 %0.2 % to 0.7 %0.5 %
Manufacturing - M/M1.2 %1.5 %0.2 %-0.1 % to 0.6 %0.1 %
Capacity Utilization Rate - Level78.1 %77.7 %78.0 %77.8 % to 78.3 %78.0 %

Highlights
Industrial production rose a very solid 0.5 percent in March for a 4.3 percent year-on-year rate with mining once again leading the report, jumping 1.0 percent on top of February's 2.9 percent surge to lift year-on-year volumes to a 10.8 percent gain. Utilities also had a good March, with output up 3.0 percent in the month following a 5.0 percent weather-related decline in February. Year-on-year, utility output is up 5.3 percent.

Now the not-so-impressive news. Manufacturing production managed only a 0.1 percent gain which is just short of Econoday's already modest consensus. Year-on-year, production volumes are up only 3.0 percent though there are positive details in the March report. Business equipment output is solid and up 4.4 percent on the year with the selected hi-tech component showing plenty of strength, up 1.2 percent on the month and 8.9 percent on the year. Vehicle production is another positive, up 2.7 in March for an 8.2 percent year-on-year rate that, however, looks aggressive given what have been mostly moderate results for vehicle sales.

Tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum during the month don't appear to have had any measurable effect in this report though they probably didn't help construction supplies where output fell a monthly 0.3 percent. Turning to capacity rates, overall utilization climbed 3 tenths to 78.0 percent but is still short of the nearly 80 percent trend several years ago. But clear stress is evident in mining where capacity is at 90.1 percent. In sum, there are plenty of positives with details helping to offset the headline disappointment for manufacturing production while mining remains one of the economy's top drivers.

Note that traditional non-NAICS numbers for industrial production may differ marginally from NAICS basis figures.

Consensus Outlook
Industrial production has been consistently held back by weakness in the report's manufacturing component and that is the expectation for March, at a consensus 0.4 percent gain overall but only a 0.2 percent increase for manufacturing.
Capacity utilization has been on the climb which is the expectation for March at a 3 tenths gain to 78.0 percent.

Definition
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
 
[Chart]
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
 
[Chart]
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
 
 

2018 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/172/153/164/175/166/157/178/159/1410/1611/1612/14
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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