Industrial Production Declines Again in May

Industrial production decreased 0.2 percent in May—the sixth consecutive month without a gain in the index. April’s reading was revised downward to 0.5 percent, but the rates for previous months were revised higher.

Manufacturing output fell by 0.2 percent, down from a gain of 0.1 percent in April. Mining output fell 0.3 percent, an improvement after declining more than 1 percent per month, on average, over the previous four months. Output of utilities rose by 0.2 percent in May, 1.4 percent higher than a year ago.

Capacity utilization for the total industry was 78.1 percent, down two basis points from April’s revised estimate, and two percentage points below the 1972-2014 average.

Final products declined by 0.3 percent—largely from declines in consumer goods, as business equipment registered production gains. Nonindustrial supplies were flat in May, but up 2.2 percent from last May. The index for materials declined 0.1 percent due to drops in production for non-energy related goods.