Industrial production increased 1.0% in September 2014. Manufacturing output in September advanced 0.5% while utilities and mining production improved 3.9% and 1.8%, respectively. Total industry capacity utilization gained 0.6 ppt to 79.3% in September, which is 0.8 ppt under its 1972–2012 average, but 1.0 ppt above its level from the prior year. Manufacturing output for Q3 2014 climbed 3.5%, and mining production advanced 8.7%. Utilities output, however, declined 8.5% in Q3 2014, marking a loss for the second consecutive quarter.
The Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) for September 2014 declined 2.4 ppts to 56.6%. Readings above 50 signify expansion in the manufacturing industry. Despite geopolitical unrest and labor shortages, the outlook for business conditions remains generally positive. Additionally, amid strong U.S. demand, some managers cite freight constraints as an obstacle. The September report reflects expansion in 15 of 18 manufacturing industries including petroleum & coal; primary metals; fabricated metal products; computer & electronic products; chemical products; miscellaneous manufacturing; and transportation equipment.
The Consumer Confidence Index decreased 7.4 ppts to 86.0 in September 2014 following four consecutive monthly gains. Consumer assessments were mostly flat regarding business conditions, although the outlook worsened for the labor market and further declined for the short-term state of the economy.
Per the advance report, new orders for manufactured durable goods declined 18.2% or $54.5 billion in August 2014 to $245.4 billion, after July’s 22.5% increase. New orders for commercial aircraft and other transportation equipment in August dropped 42.0% or $55.6 billion, to a total of $76.8 billion. August’s shipments of manufactured durable goods retreated 1.5% or $3.7 billion, to $246.1 billion following a 3.7% gain in July.
Per the third estimate, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 4.6% in Q2 2014 compared to a 2.1% contraction in Q1 2014. Q2 2014 gains were attributed to improvements in personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, residential/nonresidential fixed investments, and state and federal government spending.
In September 2014, the chemical and allied products PPI increased to 284.9 from August’s reading of 283.5.