Home Logon FTA Investment Managers Blog Subscribe About Us Contact Us

Search by Ticker, Keyword or CUSIP       

Blog Home
   Brian Wesbury
Chief Economist
X •  LinkedIn
   Bob Stein
Deputy Chief Economist
X •  LinkedIn
  Industrial Production Declined 0.5% in April
Posted Under: Data Watch • Industrial Production - Cap Utilization
Supporting Image for Blog Post

Implications: Not a pretty report for industrial production in April. Output at factories, mines, and utilities, fell 0.5%, the largest decline in 8 months (-0.8% including revisions to prior months). Worse, the drop can't be attributed to the volatile mine and utility sectors; manufacturing production declined 0.4% (-0.5% including revisions to prior months). However, we believe the report is an outlier and expect a rebound next month. Production is up 1.9% over the past year and up at a 2.5% annual rate over the past three months, exactly what we would expect in a plow horse economy. The autos sector has led the manufacturing gains, up 5.2% in the past year, but even manufacturing outside the auto sector has done OK, up 1.1% in the past year. We expect the gap between those two growth rates to narrow considerably in the year ahead, with slower growth (but still growth!) in autos and faster growth elsewhere in manufacturing. Capacity utilization fell to 77.8% in April, not far off from the average of 79.0% in the past 20 years. Continued gains in production should push capacity use higher, which means companies will have an increasing incentive to build out plant and equipment. Meanwhile, corporate profits and cash on the balance sheet are at record highs, showing they have the ability to make these investments. In other news today, the Empire State index, a measure of manufacturing sentiment in New York, declined to -1.4 in May from +3.0 in April. On the housing front, the NAHB index, which measures confidence among home builders, rose to 44 in May from 41 in April. The indexes for future sales, foot traffic, and current sales all increased, another sign that the housing market continues to recover.

Click here for a PDF version
Posted on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 @ 10:04 AM • Post Link Print this post Printer Friendly

These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
The information presented is not intended to constitute an investment recommendation for, or advice to, any specific person. By providing this information, First Trust is not undertaking to give advice in any fiduciary capacity within the meaning of ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code or any other regulatory framework. Financial professionals are responsible for evaluating investment risks independently and for exercising independent judgment in determining whether investments are appropriate for their clients.
Follow First Trust:  
First Trust Portfolios L.P.  Member SIPC and FINRA. (Form CRS)   •  First Trust Advisors L.P. (Form CRS)
Home |  Important Legal Information |  Privacy Policy |  California Privacy Policy |  Business Continuity Plan |  FINRA BrokerCheck
Copyright © 2024 All rights reserved.