Industrial production grew in April

Industrial production increased 0.5 percent in April after seeing little growth the previous two months, according to the Federal Reserve’s Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization report.

Manufacturing output increased 1 percent, sparked by a rise in the output of motor vehicles and parts. Factory output excluding motor vehicles and parts increased 0.4 percent. Despite growth, the index for manufacturing remains nearly 1 percent below its year-earlier mark. 

Sparked by a 9.3 percent increase in motor vehicles and parts, durable manufacturing increased by 1.4 percent. Nondurable manufacturing increased 0.6 percent. The production of consumer durables was boosted by an 8.4 percent increase in the output of automotive products. Gains were also seen in business equipment, defense and space equipment, non-energy materials and construction supplies. Nondurable consumer goods, business supplies and energy materials posted slight declines. Other manufacturing — publishing and logging — fell 0.1 percent.   

The index for mining increased 0.6 percent, while the index for utilities fell 3.1 percent as warmer temperatures reduced the need for heating. Mining output increased 0.6 percent in April, with growth from oil and gas extraction. 

 At 103 percent of its 2017 average, total industrial production in April was 0.2 percent above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization increased to 79.7 percent in April, equaling its 50-year average. The operating rate for utilities fell 2.6 percent to 72.7 percent, well below its long-term average.