Today the Federal Reserve reported that industrial production figures for May are down 0.1 percent after having gained 1.0 percent in April. While total industrial production in May was 4.7 percent higher than in the previous year, the capacity utilization rate for total industry declined 0.2 percentage point to 79.0 percent, a rate 1.3 percentage points below its long-run (1972—2011) average.
May’s 0.4 percent decrease for manufacturing production partially reversed the large increase that occurred in April. As a whole, both durable and nondurable goods production fell in May.
The production index for durable goods declined 0.5 percent after a gain of 1.4 percent in the previous month. The capacity utilization for durable goods manufacturing was 78.0 percent, a rate 5.0 percentage points higher than the previous year and 0.9 percentage point above its long-run average. The largest increase among major durable goods industries was for wood products (up 1.0 percent) and smaller gains were recorded by fabricated metals; electrical equipment, appliances, and components; and miscellaneous manufacturing. Industries with decreases of more than 1.0 percent included nonmetallic mineral products, primary metals, motor vehicles and parts, and furniture and related products. The production of non-durables decreased by 0.2 percent, making May the third consecutive month without a gain for non-durables despite increases of around 1.0 percent in apparel, leather, petroleum and coal products.
Overall, the index for Manufacturing in May was 5.2 percent above the previous year level, reflecting a longer-term positive trend.