Industrial production was unchanged last month after falling 1.6 percent in the last two months of 2022, according to the Federal Reserve.
Manufacturing output increased 1 percent and mining output increased 2 percent following two straight months of decreases. Durable, nondurable and other manufacturing increased by 0.8 percent, 1.1 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. Within durable manufacturing, gains of at least 1 percent were reported in nonmetallic mineral products, machinery, computer and electronic products and electrical equipment, and appliances and components. Capacity utilization for manufacturing increased by 0.6 percent in February to 77.7 percent, which is a half-percentage point below its long-term average.
Total industrial production last month was at 103 percent of its 2017 average, 0.8 percent above its mark from a year ago. Capacity utilization fell by 0.1 percent in January to 78.3 percent, still below its long-term average. Industrial capacity is expected to increase by 1.4 percent this year, a slightly slower pace compared with 2022. Manufacturing capacity is expected to increase 1.2 percent this year after rising 1 percent in 2022.
The indexes for consumer non-energy nondurables, business equipment, defense and space equipment and nondurable materials all increased by more than 1 percent; indexes for consumer durables, construction supplies, non-energy business supplies and durable materials increased by between one-half and 1 percent.
The output of utilities fell by roughly 10 percent in January as unseasonably warm weather limited the demand for heating. “Consumer energy products, commercial energy products and energy materials all recorded substantial decreases because of the drop in the output of utilities,” the Fed stated. “The output of most other market groups advanced.”
Mining output increased 2 percent in January, with gains reported in most components other than oil and gas well drilling. Capacity in the mining industry is expected to increase by a half-percent this year after jumping 3.5 percent in 2022. Capacity at electric and natural gas utilities is expected to increase 3 percent in 2023 after growing by 2.6 percent last year.