Washington, D.C. (PPD) — The Federal Reserve reported industrial production rose 1.4% in May after posting the largest monthly drop in the 101-year history of the index in April. That was the direct result of factories slowing or suspending operations to mitigate the spread of the Chinese Coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the month.
Forecasts for industrial production ranged from a low of -2.0 to a high of 12.3. The consensus forecast was 2.9.
Manufacturing output led the rebound, gaining 3.8% in May on the heels of many factories at least partially resuming after suspending operations in response to COVID-19. Most major industries posted gains, with the largest coming from motor vehicles and parts.
Forecasts for manufacturing ranged from a low of -13.0 to a high of 15.7. The consensus forecast was 3.8. The indexes for mining and utilities offset manufacturing by falling 6.8% and 2.3%, respectively.
At 92.6% of its 2012 average, the level of total industrial production was 15.3% lower in May than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.8 percentage point to 64.8% in May, a rate that is 15.0 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2019) average and 1.9 percentage points below its trough during the Great Recession.
Forecasts for the Capacity Utilization Rate ranged from a low of 60.0 to a high of 75.7. The consensus forecast was 64.9.