Industrial production came in at -0.3%, down for the fifth consecutive month below the Bloomberg Consensus Estimate.

Industrial production is stalling, down 0.3 percent in April for a 5th straight monthly contraction. Factories are cutting back with capacity utilization down 4 tenths to 78.2 percent. And the manufacturing component, which has been flat to negative all year, is unchanged. All these readings are at or near the Econoday low-side forecasts.

Among manufacturing subcomponents, consumer goods output fell 0.3 percent with business goods down 0.4 percent. Construction supplies rose only fractionally but at 0.1 percent the reading is the best all year (this a reminder of how weak construction and housing has been). A positive is a second strong month for auto output, up 1.3 percent on top of March’s 4.3 percent surge, but whether output increases further will depend on auto sales which, in yesterday’s retail sales report, turned lower in April.

The two other main components in today’s report show even greater weakness with mining, hurt by oil & gas, at minus 0.8 percent for the 6th contraction in 7 months and utilities at minus 1.3 percent for a 2nd straight decline.

The industrial economy remains flat and is holding down what is supposed to be the economy’s springtime bounce. The news from the factory sector, including this morning’s Empire State report, won’t be pulling forward expectations for the Fed’s first rate hike.

Clean Sweep of Economists’ Misses

  • Production – Weaker than Expected
  • Capacity Utilization – Weaker than Expected
  • Manufacturing – Weaker than Expected

Mike “Mish” Shedlock