U.S. Industrial Activity Shows First Gain Since Q1 08

September capacity utilization up to 70.5%

The Federal Reserve Bank’s quarterly summary of U.S. Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization shows that industrial production rose 0.7 percent during September, following an August period that has been revised upward to gain 1.2 percent. As a result, total third-quarter industrial production rose an annual rate of 5.2 percent.

It was the first quarterly gain in industrial activity since Q1 of 2008, and the largest gain since the Q1 of 2005, the Fed reported.

Also, Q3 2008 U.S. industrial production rose at the fastest rate in four years, according to the report. The Fed explained that manufacturers have begun to raise their level of output in response to increasing industrial demand, though consumer demand remains uncertain.

Manufacturing production increased 0.9 percent during September. Excluding the automotive sector (vehicles and parts), the sector rose 0.5 percent.

U.S. mining output rose 0.7 percent, though utilities output dropped -0.7 percent.

“At 98.5 percent of its 2002 average, total industrial production was 6.1 percent below its level of a year earlier,” the Fed stated.

During September, total U.S. industrial capacity utilization increased to 70.5 percent, 10.4 percentage points below the 1972-2008 average.

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