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Industrial production increased by a seasonally adjusted 0.7% for February, according to a Federal Reserve report released today. After a mild 0.3% bump in December, and no registered change for January, this newest report puts production back in the spotlight.
Market analysts had expected improvements across the board, but underestimated this month's gains. In addition to predicting a 0.5% increase in production, analysts estimated a 79.4% capacity utilization rate (79.6% actual), and a 0.3% manufacturing increase (0.8% actual).
Production improved across all major market groups, but a 2.5% bump in business equipment led the increase. In the last 12 months, business equipment production has grown 6.6%, while other groups range between 2.9% growth (construction, final products) and 2% (consumer goods).
Manufacturing's 0.8% improvement comes as a relief after a 0.3% slump in January, and was led by a 3.6% jump in motor vehicles & parts. Durable goods overall rose 1.2%, while nondurables increased 0.3%.
The overall industrial capacity rate improved 0.4 percentage points to 79.6%, but is still below the 80.2% 30-year average.