US Factory Production Up Slightly

Date: October 18, 2016

September Factory Output Rises 0.2%, Following August Decline

According to the latest Federal Reserve data, in September US manufacturing output rose 0.2 percent, and overall industrial production rose 0.1 percent. The AP notes that September’s rise in manufacturing output followed “a decline of 0.5 percent in the previous month.” Despite September’s slight gains, the AP says, manufacturing output “has been flat in the past year.” MFR Inc Chief US Economist Joshua Shapiro is quoted saying, “While better than the August data which pointed to significant weakness, the September results still only point to a manufacturing sector struggling to grow at an anemic pace.” The AP adds that mining output rose 0.4 percent, utility production fell 1 percent, production of construction supplies was up 0.8 percent – “a sign that homebuilders are busy” – auto production rose “just 0.1 percent,” and petroleum and coal products output increased 1.4 percent. Reuters reports that industrial production “barely rose” in September “as a rebound in manufacturing output was offset by a decline in utilities production, suggesting a moderate acceleration in economic growth in the third quarter.” Reuters says that economists polled by Reuters “had forecast industrial production gaining 0.1 percent last month after a previously reported 0.4 percent fall in August.” Bloomberg News reports manufacturing output “rose for the third time in four months on production of consumer goods and construction materials, a sign the industry is gradually recovering from a prolonged spell of weakness.” Bloomberg news adds that production “is beginning to revive due to a diminishing drag from a range of forces including lower oil prices, the strong dollar and weak overseas markets.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

Despite September’s rise in manufacturing output and industrial production, the US economy is still sluggish, and small business owners are unlikely to see the latest Federal Reserve data as helpful in rebuilding confidence about future business conditions. Uncertainty about the economy is likely to continue if data shows such tepid production levels.

Additional Reading

The Wall Street Journal also covers the latest manufacturing output data.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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