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FEDERAL RESERVE statistical release
G 3 (402)

For Immediate release

December 15, 1987

CAPACITY UTILIZATION
Manufacturing, Mining, Utilities, and Industrial Materials

Capacity utilization in mining, manufacturing, and utilities
rose 0.2 percentage point to 81.7 percent in November, following a
revised increase of 0.5 percentage point in October. Operating rates at
factories and utilities increased in November, while utilization at
mines was unchanged. The operating rate for all industry now exceeds
its 1967-86 average and is at its highest level since August 1984.
Utilization in manufacturing moved up again in November after a
strong rise a month earlier. Sizable increases occurred last month in
the metals and machinery industries. Offsetting these gains, in part,
were declines in operating rates at motor vehicle and parts factories
and petroleum refineries.
Several industries have shown notable increases in utilization
during the past year. The operating rate at primary metals producers
has surged, rising 16 percentage points in 12 months to 87.9 percent in
November. Operating rates at factories producing chemical and
nonelectrical machinery also have shown sizable increases during the
past year. In addition, utilization at textile mills has been above 90
percent since April, and currently stands above 93 percent.
Capacity utilization at producers of industrial materials
increased 0.3 percentage point to 81.6 percent in November. The
operating rate for materials industries has risen 3.1 percentage point
since November 1986 with gains widespread among producers of durable,
nondurable, and energy materials.

Capacity Utilization: Summary
Percent of capacity, seasonally adjusted
Series

1973
Hxgii

1975
LOM

1978
-80
iUQfc

1982
Low

1967
-86
A¥Q.

AOG

1987
|

SEP

|

OCT

|

MOV

88.6

72. 1

86.9

69.5

81.5

81.4

81.0

81.5

81.7

Manufacturing
Durable
Nondurable

87.7
87.4
88.8

69.9
67.9
71.8

86.5
86.3
87.0

68.0
63.7
74.2

80.6
78.7
83.5

81.5
78.6
85.8

81.3
78.4
85.5

81.8
79.7
85.0

82.0
79.9
85.1

Mining
Utilities

92.8
95.6

87.8
82.9

95.2
8d.5

76.9
78.0

87.2
87.3

78.2
81.3

79.0
79.8

79.2
81.6

79.2
82.0

92.0

70.5

89.1

68.5

82.3

81.1

81.0

81.3

81.6

Total Industry

Industrial Materials




CAPACITY UTILIZATION

NOVEMBER DATA

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED, PERCENT

110
TOTAL INDUSTRY
TOTAL MATERIALS

90

70

1 I i i i 1 ! 1 i 1

I

i

SO

^^^^

* \f

_ V

!

MM

!

i

1

110
MM ING

90

^ H

UTILITIES

r
\f

MANUFACTURING \ /'

I I I ! !

1 11

^V/

70

i

I

50

! !!

MM

110
MANUFACTURING
ELECTRICAL
MACHINERY

90

NONDURABLE

70

i i

50
110

11

MM

AA

MOTOR VEHICLES
AND PARTS

j

90

70

'

\lr\!\
V

RAW STEEL 11

50 —

30

1972

1975




1978

1961

1984

1987

Av

I

\

}

I

I
1972

/

1

1975

1978

1981

1984

1987

MANUFACTURING, MINING AND UTILITIES
Table 1

Capacity Utilization
Monthly, seasonally adjusted, percent of capacity
1973 J 1975 1 1978 1 1982 1 1967 1 1986 4
Series
1 HO? 4
H i g h j Lou 1 -QQ 1 Low ] -86
i
4 Avq. 4
4
Hxafc 1
1
4
4
1
1
1
69.51 81.5] 79.21
Total Industry
8b.9|
88.6J
72.11
Manufacturing
Primary processing
Advanced processing

87.7|
1
91.9J
86.01

69.91

I
68.31
71.11

86.5]
1
89. 1]
85.11

1
68.04
65.0]
69.5|

J98.7
HUB 4

JkPB

]

If&T 4 JUH 4 J0L 4 106 ] SEP | OCT 1 MO?

79.7

79.6

79.9

80.3

81.1

81.4

81.0

81.5

81.7

79.6]

80.3

80.2

80.4

80.8

81.5

81.5

81.3

81.8

82.0

82.54
78. 34

83.1
79.1

83.5
78.7

83.2
79.2

84.0
79.2

85.4
79.8

85.3
79.9

85.1
79.5

85.6
80. 1

85.9
80.2

i

i

1
80.6 4
81.64
80.14

1
Durable manufacturing
Stone, clay and glass products
Primary metals
Iron and steel, subtotal
Nonferrous metals, subtotal
Fabricated metal products
Nonelectrical machinery
Electrical machinery
Motor vehicles and parts
Automobiles
Aerospace and misc. trans, eqp.
Instruments
Other durables
Nondurable manufacturing
Food and kindred products
Textile mill products
Paper and products
Chemicals and products
Petroleum products
Rubber and plastics products
Other nondurables
Mining
Utilities
Electric utilities

87.4|
89.31
101.91
105.8]
95.6|
85.0|
89.0|
85.7 J
97.14
I
77. 0J
89.2|
87.71
1
88.8)
85.81
92.1|
95.6]
38.61
99.61
97.$i
86.41
1
92.81

67.91 8 6 . 3 |
67.11 86.61
67.01
97.11
66.61 100.31
62. 11 9 1 . 1]
64.71 87.4]
68.21 86.01
63.7J
89.94
52,7|
93.31
i 93.34
69.61
87.11
74.91
88.9]
69.01
81-01

63.74
62.91
45.81
37.64
60.81
61.31
62.94
66.9]
47.0]
36.6J
70.71
77.84
69.1]

78.71
78.1]
79.61
78.6]
81.2]
77.71
78.21
78.24
78.04
4
77.14
83.21
81-61

77.04
82.81
71.9]
66.4]
79.81
77.31
71.84
74.1J
78.14
73.74
89. 41
78.1]
82.64

77.9
83.0
74.2
70.1
80.2
78.3
73.0
74.0
83.0
78.8
90.0
77.7
81.9

77.5
83.3
73.6
69.9
78.7
77.8
73.8
73.9
78.1
70.3
89.2
78.8
81.0

77.6
80.8
74.5
71.0
79.5
76.7
73.3
75.0
79.6
71.6
89.5
78.2
81.7

77.8
81.1
76.4
74.2
79.5
78.4
74.2
74.7
76.2
67.4
88.9
79.3
81.9

78.6
81.5
79.-2
77.4
81.6
78.2
75.8
75.4
77.5
66.5
88.7
78.7
82.0

78.6
79.7
83.0
83.4
82.3
77.4
75.1
76.1
77.2
59.0
89.4
79.8
81.2

78.4
80.3
62.7
82.3
83.4
78.0
76.3
75.4
74.7
60.7
88.4
78.5
80.4

79.7
80.8
87.0
88.3
85.3
79.0
77.0
75.9
a2*Q
72.5
88.5
78.9
80.1

79.9

87.0|
85.11
88.34
92.71
82.94
91.74
89.41
92.41

74.2]
76.51
70.64
80.21
67.64
68.81
71.21
78.9]

83.54
82.34
84.74
88.24
78.74
87.Q1
84.71
85.91

83.54
80.04
89.9]
93. 11
79.34
84.61
85.54
85.7]

83.9
80.4
89.8
92.3
80.5
83.8
85.9
85.7

84.2
79.4
92.9
92.5
81.5
85.5
86.5
85.8

84.6
80.1
92.1
92.7
81.9
84. 1
87.0
86.9

85.2
80.1
93.1
93.3
82.4
83.7
88.4
87.5

85.9
80.3
93.9
97.1
Q3-2
85.3
89.0
87.4

85.8
80.3
95. a
96.9
83.9
84.1
87.3
87.2

85.5
80.6
93.8
95.3
83.8
84.6
87.1
86.5

85.0
79.7
93.3
93.5
83.2
84.8
86.9
86.8

85.1

95.24

76.9]

87.2]

74.5]

75.5

75.9

76.5

76,6

76.8

78.2

79.0

79.2

79.2

95.61
96.71

71.8|
77.61
58.91
67.71
69.21
83.7|
59.51
72.31
1
87.8|
82.9|
83.04

88.54
87.6]
I

78.01
78.21
1

87.31
88.34
!

I
79.84
83.01
4

78.2
81.8

76.8
80.7

79.2
84.8

79.0
84.6

80.2
85.9

81.3
86.3

79.8
83.2

81.6
85.0

82.0
85.3

87.9
79.5
77.7
76.2
80.5
70.2
88.0
78.9
80.5

83.7
86.5

Table 2

Output, Capacity, and Capacity Utilization
Quarterly, seasonally adjusted
Series

Total Industry
Manufacturing
Primary processing
Advanced processing

128.2
117.5
73.0
61.0
95.6
107.1
145.1
166.$
111.4
108.1
149.8
133.0
127.8

Nondurable manufacturing
Food and kindred products
Textile mill products
Paper and products
Chemicals and products
Petroleum products
Rubber and plastics products
Other nondurables

130.7
134.7
110.0
138.0
132.5
92.8
152.9
131.3

Utilities
Electric utilities

Q4

Q3

111.5 113.44114.3 116.1 119.24
139.9 U0.6] 142.0 143. 5 145.81

Durable manufacturing
Stone, clay and glass products
Primary metals
Iron and steel, subtotal
Nonferrous metals, subtotal
Fabricated metal products
Nonelectrical machinery
Electrical machinery
Motor vehicles and parts
Automobiles
Aerospace and misc. trans, eqp.
Instruments
Other durables

Mining

OUTPUT
1987
Q2
U1

4
4
4
4
4
124.8 125.91126.9 128.2 130.94
•
1
129.2 130.41131.6 133. 2 135.7]

1986
Q3

129.14130.5
118.51120.2
74.01 75.0
61.94 62.4
96.74 98.7
108.9J109.1
144.8J 145.8
168.$4*69.9
109.74115.4
109.6]113.7
150.84152.8
139.51140.6
131.21130.7
I
132.14133.1
135.21136.1
111.94110.9
139.81139.9
133.8]135.8
92.8] 93.1
155.51156.7
133.5]134.6
I
96.9] 98.8

1

131.4 .133.11
118.6 117.61
77. 3 83.74
6 6 . 3 73.84
9 8 . 0 102.3]
109. 9 110.81
150. 6 155.51
170. 0 173.2]
109. 7 108.01
103. 1 92.24
152. 6 152.94
143. 1 144.8]
132. 2 133.1]
1
135. 7 138.64
137. 0 139.0]
116.5 118.9]
141. 5 148.21
138.2 141.84
93. 0
93.54
162. 7 165.74
138. 4 140.81

96.8
9 9 . 0 100.6|
1
107.3 109.1J10a.1 108. 3 111.6]
122.9 123.74122.5 126. 6 130.21

136.9
177.8

CAPACIT1
1987
Q1
0.2
1
158.71159.5 160.4
1
163.4]164.$ 165.6
1
137.51138.2 139.0
179.1|180.3 181.6

166.8
143.0
106.5
97.7
123.0
139.3
199.9
225.5
139.2
144.9
168.0
176.6
157.2

167.61168.4
143.34 144.0
105.11104.0
95.61 93.8
123.01 123.2
140.0] 140.8
201.4)202.8
226.5|227.4
139.7] 140.2
146.1J147. 1
169.01170.0
178.31 180.0
158.7] 160.3

169.3
145.1
103.3
92.5
123.7
141^5
204.1
228.1
140.7
147.8
171.1
181.6
162.2

170.2
146.1
102.6 |
91.1
124.1 S
142.3 I
205.4
228.9
141.2
148.6|
172-1|
183.3(
164.0

76.8
62.2
68.6
62.5
77.7
76.9
72.6
73.8
80.0
74.6
89.2
78.7
81.3

77.04
82.74
70.44
64.84
78.64
77.84
71.94
74.44
78.54
75.04
89.24
78.24
82.74

77.5
83.4
72.1
66.5
80.1
77.5
71.9
74.7
82.3
77.3
89.9
78.1
81.5

77.6
81.7
74.8
71.7
79.2
77.6
73.8
74.5
78.0
69.7
89.2
78.8
81.5

78.5
80.5
81.6
81.0
82.4
77.9
75.7
75.7
76.5
62.0
88.8
79.0
81.2

156.4
168.0
124.4
148.7
166.0
108.9
179.2
153.7

157.61158.9
169.14170.3
124.6] 125.2
149.91151.1
166.91167.8
109.44 109.8
181.54183.8
155.51157.5

160.3
171.6
125.7
152.4
168.7
110.1
186.3
159.6

161*7
172.8]
126.1]
153.61
U9.64
110.54
188.84
161.8,

83.6
80.2
86.4
92.8
79.8
65.3
85.3
85.5

83.84
8O.Q4
89.74
93.31
80.24
84.94
85.74
85.94

83.7
79.9
88.5
92.5
80.9
84.8
85.2
85.5

84.7
79.9
92.7
92.8
81.9
84.4
87.3
86.7

85.7
80.4
94.2
96.5
83.6
84.6
87.8
87.1

131.2 130.84 130.4 129.7 129.0]

73.8

74.14 75.8

76.3

78.0

137.0 137.31137.7
149.3 150.P4150.8

78.3
82.3

79.41 78.5
82. $4 81.2

78.3
83.4

80.4
85.1

1986
£3

157.9
162. 4

Note. Data for output are percentages of 1977 output as shown in the Federal Reserve's seasonally adjusted indexes of industrial production. Capacity is also expressed as a percentage of




Q4

U3

1986
I QS

OriLIZATIOB
1987
Q4

Q1

Q2

Q3

361. ?

79.0

4
79.44 79.5

79.9

81.2

166.7

79.5

79.84 80.0

80.5

81.4

139.8
182.9 I

81.4
78.6

82.51 82.7
78.54 78.7

83.5
79.0

85.3
79.7

138.3 138.8)
151.9 152.94

1977 actual output. Capacity utilization percentages are calculated as ratios of production to
capacity.

INDUSTRIAL MATERIALS
Table 3

Capacity Utilization
Monthly, seasonally adjusted, percent of capacity
Series

Industrial Materials

Durable goods materials
Metal materials
Raw steel
Aluminum

Nondurable goods materials
Textile, paper, and chemical materials
Pulp and paper materials
Chemical materials

Energy materials

1973 | 1975 1
Hxgii I Lov |
I
I
I
92.01 70.5|
I
1
I
91.8| 64.4]
i
I
99.21 67.11
I
1
106.01 66.4)
95.71 73.01
I
1
1
i
91.11 66.71
I
I
92.81 64.81
1
I
98.4) 70.61
92.51 64.41
I
1
J
1
94.61
86.91
1

1967 | 1986 J
-86 | •Of | . 1987
A¥q. 1
•AB

1978 1 1982
- 8 0 i Lorn
i

1

89.1|
1

1
89.81
1
93.61
1
98.91
97.4|
1
1
88.11
1
89.41
1
97.31
87.91
1
1
94.01
i

I
68.51 82.3) 78.5|
1
I
1
I
60.91 79.11 74.61
1
1
45.71 77.81 68.6|
1
I
I 80.31
36.11 87.41 61.91
58.81
1 72.81
1
1
1
1 83.21 83.91
70.71
1
1
68.81 83.61 84.41
1
1
I
79.91 91.4| 96.51
80.81 79.91
63.51
1
1
I
1
i
i
82.31 89.31 8 2 . 1 |
I

APE 1 HAT 1 JUM |

JOL 1 AP6 | S B P 1 QCT | MO?

78.7

79.1

75.2
68.7

79.3

79.8

80.6

81.1

81.0

81.3

81.6

75.0

75.1

75.9

76.5

76.6

76.7

77.5

77.7

68.8

69.7

71.5

73.9

77.5

77.9

81.1

80.7

67.8
79.4

70.6
80.8

73.4
80.3

76.7
84.7

79.5
86.8

86.5
88.6

88.5
90.3

87.9
91.8

84.8

86.5

86.2

86.1

88.4

88.6

88.7

87.9

88.1

85.8

87.5

87.1

87.1

90.0

90.5

90.7

89.9

90.2

94.6
95.1
Q2»2 83.9

95.7
83.9

96.3 100.5
83.1 85.1

99.9
86.4

98.4
87.4

97.3
87.1

82.1

82.8

84.0

83.5

83.7

0.9

81.3

82.4

84.4

I

Table 4

Output, Capacity, and Capacity Utilization
Quarterly, seasonally adjusted
Series

1986
Q3

Industrial Materials

113.0

Durable goods materials

119. Q

Metal materials

73.2

Raw steel
Aluminum

60.3
68.3

Nondurable goods materials
Textile, paper and chemical materials
Pulp and paper materials
Chemical materials

Energy materials
Explanatory Notes

118.3
118.9
134.1
118.1
98.1

04

OUTPUT
1987
02
Q1

1
114.31115.0 116.5
1
1
120.71 121.4 122.9
4
75.4| 74.7 77.0
1
58.61 60.9 67.8
70.81 74.9 77.8
I
1
120.31121.2 124.0
1
120.94122.3 125. 1
1
137.7
137.01 136.4 125.3
120.31122.9
1
1
97.8| 98.3 98.7
1

Q3

I
119.11
I
125.51
I
83.61
1
77.0|
83.61
I
I
128.21
1
130.51
I
144.51
130.21
I
1
100.01
I

1986
03

CAPACITI
1987
Q1
02

1
145.1 145.61146.1 146.7
1
I
161.0 161.61162.3 163.1
I
112.5 111.51110.6 110.0
1
97.3
100.9 95.3J 93.6 92.2
97.41 95.4 94.9
1
1
141.4
142.11142.9 143.8
1
140.8
141.6J 142.4 143.4
140.7 141.71 142.8 143.9
147.0 147.8]148.8 149.8
1
1
120.5 120.41 120.3 120.2

Definition. This release contains estimates of output, capacity, and capacity utilization for the
nation's factories, mines, and electric and gas utilities. Output data are the Federal Reserve's
seasonally adjusted indexes of industrial production, which express output as percentages of
1977 output. The capacity estimates are expressed as percentages of 1977 output as well.
Capacity utilization percentages are calculated as ratios of production to capacity. The capacity indexes are based on a variety of data, including capacity data in physical units compiled
by trade associations, private and government surveys of capacity growth and utilization rates,
and estimates of capital stock growth. The concept of practical capacity is applied, which is
defined as the greatest level of output that a plant can maintain within the framework of a realistic
work pattern, taking account of normal downtime, and assuming sufficient availability of inputs
to operate machinery and equipment in place. When the capacity indexes for individual industries are aggregated—for example to total manufacturing—no explicit account is taken of possible general equilibrium constraints such as emerging industry bottlenecks. Because of the
large and heterogeneous database, changes in utilization rates may be more meaningful in the
analysis of business conditions than any particular level of these rates.
Groupings. Estimates of capacity and industrial production for manufacturing industries are
aggregated to primary processing and advanced processing industries, to durable and nondurable
manufacturing industries, and to total manufacturing. The mining, manufacturing, and utilities
estimates aggregate to the total index. Primary processing includes textile mill products, paper
and products, industrial chemicals, petroleum products, rubber and plastics products, lumber
and products, primary metals, fabricated metal products, and stone, clay, and glass products.
Advanced processing includes foods, tobacco products, apparel products, printing and publishing, chemical products such as drugs and toiletries, leather and products, furniture and fixtures,
machinery, transportation equipment, instruments, miscellaneous manufactures, and
government-owned-and-operated ordnance facilities. Industrial materials are items produced and
.used as inputs by manufacturing plants, mines, and utilities. Industrial materials include many
of the items included in the primary processing grouping of manufacturing, as well as some
of the output of the advanced processing industries, mines, and utilities—such as iron ore, crude
oil, semiconductors, and electricity sold to industry.




04

I

UTILIZATION
1987
03
flf
Q2
1
77.9 78.51 78.7 79.4 80.9
1

1986
03

Q3
1
147.21
1

1
163.91

I

Q4

I
73.9 74.71 74.8

75.4

76.6

I

109.41
1

65.0 67.71 67.5
1

70.0

76.4

90.8)
94.41
1
1
144.71
1
144.41
1
145.11
150.91
1
I
120.11
I

62.0 61.51 65.1
67.7 72.71 78.5
1
1
83.6 84.71 84.8
1
84.4 85.41 85.9
1
95.3 96.71 95.5
80.3 81.41 82.6
I
I
81.5 81.21 81.7
J

73.6
81.9

84.8
88.6

86.2

88.6

87.2

90.4

95.7
83.6

99.6
86.3

82-%

83.3

Perspective. The historical highs and lows in capacity utilization shown in the tables above are
specific to each series and did not all occur in the same month. Industrial plants usually operate at capacity utilization rates that are well below 100 percent: none of the broad aggregates
has ever reached 100 percent. For mining, manufacturing, and utilities as a whole, and for total
manufacturing, utilization rates as high as 90 percent have been exceeded only in wartime.
Revisions. The first estimates for a month are published about the 17th of the following month.
These estimates may revise in each of the next three months as new data become available.
After the fourth month no further revisions are undertaken until an annual or benchmark revision. The median of the revisions in the total manufacturing utilization rate between the first
and fourth estimate is 0.3 of a percentage point; that is, in about half of the cases, the absolute
value of the revision from the first to the fourth estimate is less than 0.3 of a percentage point.
Sources. The basic methodology used to estimate the series is discussed in Richard D. Raddock, "Revised Federal Reserve Rates of Capacity Utilization," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Vol.
71 (October 1985), pp. 754-66. Revised data for 1984-85 as well as historical utilization rates
since 1967 (1948 in the case of manufacturing) are included in the statistical supplement to the
September 1986 capacity utilization release. Copies may be obtained from Publications Services, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, D.C. 20551
Rounding. Utilization rates are calculated from unrounded capacity and production indexes.
Aggregates are derived from unrounded detailed components.
Release schedule for 1988. Approximately 11 a.m. on January 19, February 18, March 17,
April 18, May 18, June 16, July 18, August 17, September 16, October 17, November 16, and
December 16.