Industrial production declined 0.1 percent in December. Losses of 0.3 percent for manufacturing and 1.5 percent for utilities were mostly offset by a gain of 2.0 percent for mining. For the fourth quarter as a whole, total industrial production rose at an annual rate of 4.0 percent. At 101.9 percent of its 2017 average, total industrial production in December was 3.7 percent higher than it was at the end of 2020 and 0.6 percent above its pre-pandemic (February 2020) reading. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector edged down 0.1 percentage point in December to 76.5 percent, a rate that is 3.1 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2020) average.
This graph shows Capacity Utilization. This series is up from the record low set in April 2020, and above the level in February 2020 (pre-pandemic).
Capacity utilization at 76.5% is 3.1% below the average from 1972 to 2020. This was well below consensus expectations.
Note: y-axis doesn’t start at zero to better show the change.