Today the Federal Reserve released new figures on industrial production, with figures showing that manufacturing output is headed in the right direction. This finding mirrors the conclusions from the Fed’s Beige Book release earlier in the week. As the chart below shows, manufacturing industrial production bottomed out in early 2009 and has been moving upward for both durables and nondurables. Manufacturing output rose 0.7 percent in March, or 9.1 percent for the first quarter of 2011. Durable goods manufacturing has outpaced nondurable goods manufacturing so far this year, with durables up 1.0 percent and nondurables up 0.5 percent in March. Manufacturing capacity is also increasing, up 0.3 percent in the first quarter.
Manufacturing industries that are growing most rapidly in the first quarter include motor vehicles and parts, machinery, primary metals, and wood products. Nonmetallic mineral products; food, beverage, and tobacco products; and printing and support experienced declines.
As a whole, industrial production in manufacturing did better than mining or utilities in the first quarter; however, both of these sectors saw improvement in March. Mining output rose 0.6 percent, while utilities production jumped 1.7 percent.