Hardly surprising given February’s biggest miss in 10 months that March’s data would rebound and so it did from an initial -0.3% in Feb, March rose +0.6% (well above +0.2% expectations) – 2.7% above last year’s levels. This 0.6% rise is above even the most exuberant “economists” estimates. Utilities fell 0.2% (as weather warmed up) but what was most notable is the 7.4% surge in motor vehicles (the biggest in at least 6 months) – which are already sitting at record levels of absolute inventories and the highest inventory-to-sales since the financial crisis.
IP swings back to recover Feb’s losses…
The indexes for consumer durables and consumer non-energy nondurables moved up 2.1 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, in February, while the index for consumer energy products decreased 0.8 percent.
Within consumer durables, the production of automotive products jumped 4.6 percent to reverse most of a similarly sized decrease in January, and the output of home electronics increased 0.7 percent. These gains in February were partly offset by a decrease of 1.7 percent in the production of appliances, furniture, and carpeting as well as a decline of 0.1 percent in the output of miscellaneous goods.
Within consumer non-energy nondurables, the indexes for foods and tobacco, for chemical products, and for paper products each rose about 1 percent, while the output of clothing moved down 0.7 percent.
Of course, this IP number is largely irrelevant because in 11 days the Fed will revise the entire data series:
The Federal Reserve Board plans to issue its annual revision to the index of industrial production (IP) and the related measures of capacity utilization at noon on March 28, 2014. The revised indexes for IP will incorporate data from the U.S. Geological Survey regarding metallic and nonmetallic minerals (except fuels) for 2012. The update will also include revisions to the monthly indicators (either product data or input data) and to seasonal factors for each industry. In addition, the estimation methods for some series may be changed. Any modifications to the methods for estimating the output of an industry will affect the index from 1972 to the present.