#100 – Inside Our Industry – US Factory Production Advances at Solid Pace for a Third Month

Posted on | Inside Our Industry

Last week’s manufacturing news was centered on U.S. factory production continuing to rise. Also, factory capacity utilization is reported at a 15-year high. Following are excerpts from Bloomberg.com’s report.

US Factory Production Advances at Solid Pace for a Third Month
Reade Pickert  |  Bloomberg.com  |  May 17, 2022

US factory production rose at a solid pace for a third month in April, showing manufacturers are making strides meeting steady consumer demand and investment growth.

The 0.8% increase followed a similar gain in March, Federal Reserve data showed Tuesday. Total industrial production, which also includes mining and utility output, climbed 1.1% during April.

Median forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 0.4% advance in factory output and a 0.5% gain in industrial production.

Another robust month of factory output illustrates how an easing of capacity constraints tied to labor and materials is providing producers greater wherewithal to meet resilient demand for business equipment and some household goods. A separate report on Tuesday showed retail sales in April remained robust, reflecting broad strength across merchant categories.

At the same time, changing consumption patterns, high inflation and rising interest rates risk tempering manufacturing.

The rise in April manufacturing output was broad, including gains in production of metals, machinery, motor vehicles and food, the Fed’s report showed.

Production of business equipment increased 1.1%, while output of consumer goods rose 0.8% for a second month. Motor vehicle output rose 3.9%. Excluding autos, factory output advanced 0.5%.

Capacity utilization at factories increased to a 15-year high of 79.2%, the Fed’s report showed.

The Fed’s report showed a 2.4% increase in utility output and a 1.6% gain in mining. Oil and gas well drilling advanced 3.2% and is 54.3% higher than a year earlier.