The U.S. Industrial Production Index remained mostly unchanged in May 2013, edging up only 0.04 percent, according to the latest retail report from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This was a minimal rebound from April’s 0.4 percent drop, which had been the first month-to-month decrease since October 2012.
May’s total industrial production, which encompasses manufacturing, mining and utilities, stood at 98.7, moving only slightly from 98.6 in April. It was also up 1.6 percent over May 2012, experiencing the lowest year-over-year increase rate since February 2010. The current index remains up 0.5 percent from the beginning of the year, when the index level was 98.2.
The manufacturing index inched up 0.1 percent to 95.3 in May, after slipping 0.4 percent in April. The index remains one-tenth of a point above the beginning of 2013 and up 1.7 percent year-over-year. The manufacturing index for motor vehicles was up 1.2 percent in May, following a 0.3 percent decline in April.
In the May 2013 JOC Insights report, JOC economist Mario Moreno said, "Robust demand for motor vehicles is highly important to the inbound trade of auto parts as evidenced by the strong correlation (plus 87 percent) between industrial production of motor vehicles and auto parts imports (in TEUs)," as shown in the graph.
Utilities were down in May, dropping 1.8 percent to 98.7 following two months above 100. It is up 0.8 percent from the beginning of the year, when the index stood at 97.9, but down 3.6 percent year-over-year. Mining inched up 0.7 percent in May, the second straight month of increases, but at a decelerated pace from April. The mining index now stands at 117.5.