The U.S. Industrial Production Index was down 0.5 percent month-to-month in April 2013, the largest decline since August 2012, according to the latest retail report from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This follows an increase in March that saw the index reach its five-year high.
April’s total industrial production, which encompasses manufacturing, mining, and utilities, slipped to 98.7, although it remained 2 percent higher than in April 2012, when it stood at 96.9. Despite the monthly drop, the current index remains up 0.7 percent since the beginning of the year, when the index level was 98.1.
"Industrial production fell on slowing manufacturing activity, likely linked to the economic slowdown in Asia and the persistent recession in the Euro area. It looks like the manufacturing sector will be in a soft spot at least through the end of second quarter, further evidenced by the latest reports on business conditions of the manufacturing sectors of New York and Mid-Atlantic regions,” said JOC economist Mario Moreno.
The manufacturing index inched down 0.4 percent to 95.2 in April, after slipping 0.3 percent in March. The index remains one-tenth of a point above the beginning of 2013.
Mining was up in April, climbing 0.9 percent to 116.9. However, utilities dropped 3.7 percent in April to 101.3, up 3.5 percent from the beginning of the year, when the index stood at 97.9. This decrease followed three months of increases in utilities.