2011 Economic Calendar
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Industrial Production  
Released On 5/17/2011 9:15:00 AM For Apr, 2011
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Production - M/M change0.8 %0.4 %-0.4 % to 0.8 %0.0 %
Capacity Utilization Rate - Level77.4 %77.0 %77.6 %77.0 % to 77.9 %76.9 %

Industrial production surprised on the downside for April with weakness led by a drop in auto assemblies. Overall industrial production in April was unchanged, following a revised 0.7 percent gain the prior month (originally up 0.8 percent). Analysts had called for a 0.4 percent advance for the latest month. Notably, manufacturing posted a 0.4 percent decline in April, following a 0.6 percent gain in March. Auto assemblies likely were weighed down by supply disruptions for parts from Japan. Excluding motor vehicles, manufacturing rose 0.2 percent after a 0.4 percent advance in March. Moving to other sectors, utilities increased 1.7 percent after gaining 0.7 percent in March. Mining rose 0.8 percent after a 1.4 percent jump the month before.

Within manufacturing, durable goods dropped 1.0 percent in April. The output of motor vehicles and parts fell 8.9 percent after increasing 3.6 percent in March. Nondurables edged up 0.1 percent in April after advancing 0.5 percent in March.

On a year-on-year basis, overall industrial production slowed to up 5.0 percent from 5.3 percent in March.

Overall capacity utilization in April slipped to 76.9 percent from 77.0 percent the prior month. The April rate fell short of analysts' estimate for 77.6 percent.

Today's report is disappointing at the headline level and for total manufacturing. But the auto industry is relatively healthy based on demand and recovery should be expected soon for assemblies. Non-auto manufacturing is mixed but still net positive.

The traditional non-NAICS numbers for industrial production may differ marginally from the NAICS basis figures.

Consensus Outlook
Industrial production in March jumped 0.8 percent, following a 0.1 percent uptick the month before. Importantly, manufacturing continued a string of healthy gains, advancing 0.7 percent, following a 0.6 percent boost in February. Manufacturing output has risen nine consecutive months. Overall capacity utilization in March expanded to 77.4 percent from 76.9 percent in February. The March rate came in higher than the market forecast for 77.3 percent. Looking ahead, data are mixed. National and regional manufacturing surveys for April range from moderately strong to robust. However, the manufacturing production worker hours index in the employment situation was unchanged for the month.

The Federal Reserve's monthly index of industrial production and the related capacity indexes and capacity utilization rates cover manufacturing, mining, and electric and gas utilities. The industrial sector, together with construction, accounts for the bulk of the variation in national output over the course of the business cycle. The production index measures real output and is expressed as a percentage of real output in a base year, currently 2012. The capacity index, which is an estimate of sustainable potential output, is also expressed as a percentage of actual output in 2012. The rate of capacity utilization equals the seasonally adjusted output index expressed as a percentage of the related capacity index.

The index of industrial production is available nationally by market and industry groupings. The major groupings are comprised of final products (such as consumer goods, business equipment and construction supplies), intermediate products and materials. The industry groupings are manufacturing (further subdivided into durable and nondurable goods), mining and utilities. The capacity utilization rate -- reflecting the resource utilization of the nation's output facilities -- is available for the same market and industry groupings.

Industrial production was also revised to NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) in the early 2000s. Unlike other economic series that lost much historical data prior to 1992, the Federal Reserve Board was able to reconstruct historical data that go back more than 30 years.  Why Investors Care
The industrial sector accounts for less than 20 percent of GDP. Yet, it creates much of the cyclical variability in the economy.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
The capacity utilization rate reflects the limits to operating the nation's factories, mines and utilities. In the past, supply bottlenecks created inflationary pressures as the utilization rate hit 84 to 85 percent.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2011 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/142/163/174/155/176/157/158/169/1510/1711/1612/15
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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