U.S. Industrial Production picked up again in June 2020

Measure of output at factories, mines and utilities rose a seasonally adjusted 5.4 %.

By guest author David Harrison from Wall Street Journal

U.S. manufacturing increased in June for the second straight month, a sign of economic recovery in the weeks before the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

Industrial production—a measure of output at factories, mines and utilities—rose a seasonally adjusted 5.4% in June from May, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. That was a bigger increase than the 4% rise anticipated by economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal.

The index for May was unrevised at 1.4 % while the index for April was revised down to a 12.7 % drop from a 12.5 % drop.

The data suggest U.S. industries have started a slow recovery from April’s record decline. Despite the recent gains, the index for the second quarter as a whole fell at an annual rate of 42.6 %, the largest quarterly decrease since World War II.

It is not yet clear how the recent uptick in new coronavirus cases will affect output in the coming months.

June’s rebound was led by the manufacturing sector, the biggest component of industrial production, which posted a 7.2 % gain, driven by production of autos and parts. Mining output decreased 2.9 % and utilities output rose 4.2 %, the Fed said.

Capacity utilisation, a measure of slack in the industrial economy, also rose more than expected to 68.6% in June from a revised 65.1 % in May, the Fed said. Economists surveyed by the Journal had expected capacity utilisation to reach 67.5 % last month.