Industrial Production Declines to Historical Lows

In a report released Wednesday the Federal Reserve said the nation’s Industrial production fell 13.3% since the recession began in December 2007 and the capacity utilization rate for total industry fell further to 69.3%, a historical low for this series, which begins in 1967.

For the month of March, manufacturing output decreased 1.7 percent, and, for the first quarter as a whole, manufacturing output dropped at an annual rate of 22.5. Meanwhile, the output of the nation’s factories, mines and utilities fell 1.5% in March, after a similar decrease in February, despite higher production of motor vehicles and boost from utilities.

From The Federal Reserve: ..Output dropped at an annual rate of 20.0 percent, the largest quarterly decrease of the current contraction. At 97.4 percent of its 2002 average, output in March fell to its lowest level since December 1998 and was nearly 13 percent below its year-earlier level. Production in manufacturing moved down 1.7 percent in March and has registered five consecutive quarterly decreases. Broad-based declines in production continued; one exception was the output of motor vehicles and parts, which advanced slightly in March but remained well below its year-earlier level. Outside of manufacturing, the output of mines fell 3.2 percent in March, as oil and gas well drilling continued to drop. After a relatively mild February, a return to more seasonal temperatures pushed up the output of utilities.

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