Share this Post on Twitter

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Industrial Production / Capacity Utilization Freefall

Details of the state of U.S. industrial production was released yesterday and it wasn't pretty. Bloomberg reports:

U.S. industrial production fell in January for the sixth time in seven months and more than forecast as companies reduced manufacturing amid a worldwide slowdown in demand.

Output at factories, mines and utilities dropped 1.8 percent, after a revised decrease of 2.4 percent in December that was more than previously reported, the Federal Reserve said today in Washington. Car and truck assemblies fell to a record.

More bothersome to me were the figures detailing capacity utilization as compared to recessions and peaks of the past 20 or so years, as well as average over the 1972-2008 time frame (unfortunately they didn't include figures for recessions of the 1970's or 1980's).

The Federal Reserve release did share this frightening tidbit:
The factory operating rate moved down 1.7 percentage points, to 68.0 percent, the lowest rate of utilization since this series began in 1948.
While Bloomberg detailed:
Capacity utilization, or the proportion of plants in use, fell to 72 percent, the lowest since February 1983, from 73.3 percent in December.
Seems awfully deflationary to me (i.e. NO DEMAND). We'll see what this morning's PPI release shows there...

Source: Federal Reserve