The Big Chill: Utility Output Lifts Industrial Production

Summary Coming on the heels of a better-than-expected retail sales report, the other economic news today is that industrial production also came in well-ahead of expectations. A 9.9% surge in utility output amid the big chill in January explains the beat. Manufacturing output recorded a 0.2% increase after a scant decline in December as manufacturers contend with the ongoing supply chain crisis. Utilities Surge but Manufacturing Constrained by Lack of Supply A modest increase in manufacturing production, up only 0.2% points to the ongoing challenges manufacturers contend with in terms of sourcing materials. Utilities and mining are much smaller categories, together they comprise less than a quarter of overall output; but this is often where the volatility comes from and January was no exception (chart). Mining rose 1.0% while utilities production soared 9.9%. The utility surge is partly a reversal after having posted production declines in three of the four preceding months. The larger factor we suspect was the deep freeze that pulled polar air across wide swaths of the country as far south as Texas and Florida. READ FULL ARTICLE>>