Manufacturing on the Upswing

Earlier today, the Federal Reserve released its latest data on industrial production. Bottom line: production over the past three months has been surprisingly strong. Growth in September was more than expected, and the previous month was revised upward.

Industrial production has now increased for three straight months, as has a slightly narrower measure, manufacturing production:

As you can see, manufacturing production turned consistently negative in January of 2008 and then fell off a cliff toward the end of the year. After declining in 17 of 18 months (driving manufacturing production down a total of 17%), manufacturing production has now risen for three straight months (for a cumulative rebound of about 3%).

Manufacturing still has a long way to go. But the recent strength in industrial production, generally, and manufacturing, specifically, adds weight to the view that the recession may have ended early this summer. (Recall that the last recession ended in November 2001, even though job losses continued long afterward.)

About Donald Marron 294 Articles

Donald Marron is an economist in the Washington, DC area. He currently speaks, writes, and consults about economic, budget, and financial issues.

From 2002 to early 2009, he served in various senior positions in the White House and Congress including: * Member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) * Acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) * Executive Director of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee (JEC)

Before his government service, Donald had a varied career as a professor, consultant, and entrepreneur. In the mid-1990s, he taught economics and finance at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He then spent about a year-and-a-half managing large antitrust cases (e.g., Pepsi vs. Coke) at Charles River Associates in Washington, DC. After that, he took the plunge into the world of new ventures, serving as Chief Financial Officer of a health care software start-up in Austin, TX. After that fascinating experience, he started his career in public service.

Donald received his Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his B.A. in Mathematics a couple miles down the road at Harvard.

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