US industrial production stayed flat in October as output of consumer goods declined by 0.2 per cent, despite a manufacturing output increase of 0.2 per cent.
The pace of production has fluctuated over the last six months, posting small declines in August and September, according to Federal Reserve figures. October’s figures undershot economists’ estimates of a 0.2 per cent rise.
Car production increased for the fifth month in a row as year-on-year output grew by 7.2 per cent. Consumer energy product output fell by three per cent.
While the manufacturing sector’s output increased, it remained a further 0.2 per cent below its level one year ago, weighed down by a fall of 0.6 per cent in the publishing and logging industries. The paper industry posted one of the larger declines, with output falling by 0.8 per cent.
Mining output increased by 2.1 per cent in October, with a boost in coal mining making up for declines in crude oil and natural gas extraction. Coal could receive a further boost in the coming months if US President-elect Donald Trump fulfils promises to reinvigorate the US coal industry which has declined owing to its relatively high levels of pollution.
The rate of capacity utilisation for manufacturing, which measures the proportion of potential economic product actually produced, rose by 0.1 per cent in October to 74.9 per cent. This rate is 3.6 per cent below its long-run average, suggesting that there remains much underused capability in US industry.