At 101.6% of its 2002 average, industrial output in March was 4%above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization--a gauge ofslack in the economy--advanced 0.2 percentage point to 73.2%, arate 7.4 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2009, but3.7 percentage points above the rate from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, consumer goods declined 0.2% in March. However,output in the first quarter rose at an annual rate of 4.9%, and theindex in March was 3.3% above its year-earlier level. Also inMarch, the production of consumer durables strengthened by 2%,supported by a jump in automotive products. Posting less of a jump,the output of non-energy non-durables moved up 0.2%, while theproduction of consumer energy products actually contracted 3.7%.According to the Federal Reserve, the gain in non-energynon-durables reflected increases in food, tobacco and clothing,which more than offset decreases in both chemical and paperproducts. Meanwhile, the index for consumer nondurable energyproducts was weighed down in March by the weakness in residentialsales by utilities.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.