Industrial production in the United States rose 0.4 percent in September, partially reversing a 1.4 percent drop in August, according to new figures from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
- Industrial production declined at an annual rate of 0.4 percent for the third quarter.
- Manufacturing output increased 0.2 percent in September but is down at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in Q3.
- Production at mines ticked up 0.9 percent in September.
- The output of utilities moved up 1.5 percent in September.
- Total industrial production in September was 2.8 percent above the same time a year ago, but it's still 97 percent of the 2007 average.
- Across all industries, capacity utilization moved up a smidge to 78.3 percent. That's two percentage points below its average between 1972 and 2011.
The Fed attributes about three-tenths of a percentage point of the decline in August to precautionary idling of production along the Gulf of Mexico in anticipation of Hurricane Isaac; part of the rise in September is attributed to those facilities coming back online.
Other production statistics of note:
- Consumer goods: unchanged in September after having fallen 1.5 percent in August.
- Automotive products: fell 2.9 percent, a second consecutive large decline.
- Home electronics and miscellaneous goods posted small declines.
- Appliances, furniture and carpeting moved up.
- Consumer energy products rose 0.8 percent after having fallen 2.7 percent in August.
- Business equipment moved up 0.8 percent in September and was nearly 11 percent above its year-earlier level.
- Transit equipment rose 1.7 percent in September after having dropped 3.3 percent in August. (September's gain was helped by an increase in the production of civilian aircraft.)
- Information processing equipment moved up 0.5 percent.
- Defense and space equipment gained 1.7 percent in September, helping the third quarter's 7 percent gain "more than reverse" a 5.7 percent decline in the second quarter.
- Energy materials rose 0.9 percent following a large drop in August related to reduced oil and natural gas extraction in anticipation of Hurricane Isaac.
What it all means: U.S. industrial production is ahead of expectations, but still digging itself out of a large hole.