Economy

USA industrial output plunges in August on Hurricane Harvey hit

USA industrial output plunges in August on Hurricane Harvey hit”

A welder for Stewarts Inc., an oilfield service company, in the oil town of Andrews, Texas.

With Hurricane Harvey negatively impacting output, the Federal Reserve released a report on Friday unexpectedly showing a notable decline in US industrial production in the month of August.

Output sank 0.9% last month, well below Wall Street expectations. In September 2005, industrial production fell sharply after Hurricane Katrina had devastated New Orleans, but it recovered in subsequent months.

The massive storm that hit the Gulf Coast of Texas late that month is estimated to have cut U.S. industrial production by three-quarters of a percentage point.

The manufacturing industries with the largest estimated storm-related effects were petroleum refining, organic chemicals, and plastics materials and resins, the central bank said.

There were across-the-board declines in output in August. Mining output fell 0.8%.

The output of consumer goods fell 0.7 per cent as a rise in production of consumer durables was offset by declines in nondurables and consumer energy products.

There were some positive elements in the report, including a rebound in manufacturing of motor vehicle and parts, which retraced half the decline seen in July. This partly reversed a 4.2% drop in the prior month. Worries about the auto sector persist as production in the sector is now down 3.6% over the past year.

Utilization of factory capacity fell 0.8 percentage point to 76.1 per cent, compared to a revised upward figure of 76.9 per cent in July, almost 4 percentage points below the long run average.

Capacity utilization in the utilities sector tumbled to 73.9 percent, while capacity utilization in the mining and manufacturing sectors dipped to 83.9 percent and 75.3 percent, respectively.



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