U.S. Production Gains Despite Automotive Decline

With increases in most major market and industry groups, U.S. industrial production grew 0.5% in December, according to the Federal Reserve Board's recent "Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization" report. However, the report added that the overall gain was held back by a 2.

02/01/1998


With increases in most major market and industry groups, U.S. industrial production grew 0.5% in December, according to the Federal Reserve Board's recent "Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization" report. However, the report added that the overall gain was held back by a 2.5% decline in motor vehicle production, which had been higher in November 1997.

Total industrial production in December was 5.9% higher than the same month in 1996. The rate of industrial capacity has also continued its increase to 83.4%—its highest rate since September 1995. "Certainly, as we approached the end of 1997, it was a stronger year for manufacturers than anyone had anticipated," says Daryl Delano, director of Reed Elsevier Business Economics (Newton, Mass.). "The story line for 1998 is for a slowdown—not a decline—to solid sustainable production. Even with a worst-case scenario for the Asian crisis, U.S. manufacturing will be able to keep going." (Market Update has a related article on U.S. manufacturing trends.)





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