Industrial production stays still as manufacturing rises

Over the past 12 months, total industrial production was up 0.3 percent, with mining output up 1.8 percent but utilities production off 7.0 percent year-over-year.

Multiple manufactured product lines saw increases of one percent and higher including machinery, plastic, paper and metal products, pushing total manufacturing output up 0.5 per cent compared to January, the same increase as the prior month.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a 0.3% rise in output in February. Output in the sector was up 0.5 percent in February, mirroring the gain seen in January.

In February, manufacturing output moved up 0.5% for its sixth consecutive monthly increase. In contrast, mining production was up for the second straight month, up 2.7 percent in February.

Looking more closely at the February manufacturing data, durable and nondurable goods production was up 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Factories are benefiting from greater consumer and business optimism since last fall's presidential election. The prior month was revised to a 0.1 percent drop from a previously reported 0.3 percent decline.

The output of motor vehicles and parts rebounded 0.8 percent after a 0.8 percent decrease the previous month. Computers and electronic products output rose 0.7 percent last month.

Industrial capacity in use last month slipped to 75.4 per cent, just a tenth lower than in January, and exactly as analysts forecast. But with details of President Donald Trump's economic policy still vague, the jump in sentiment has not translated into strong business spending on equipment. Manufacturing has struggled in recent years due to recent oil downturns, a weaker global economy and a strong dollar have made USA exports more expensive overseas.

  • Zachary Reyes