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FEDERAL RESERVE statistical release
For release at 9:15 a.m. (EST)
December 15,1989

G.3 (402)

CAPACITY UTILIZATION
Manufacturing, Mining, Utilities, and Industrial Materials
Capacity utilization in manufacturing, mining, and utilities edged down 0.1 percentage point in
November to 82.7 percent, its lowest rate since April 1988. The operating rates for both manufacturing and
utilities decreased slightly in November while the rate for mining rose for the fifth consecutive month. The
uptrend in mining utilization since the spring reflects the return to work of striking coal miners and, more
recently, steady output for oil and gas extraction despite declining capacity. Utilization for manufacturing, at
82.7 percent in November, remained well below its September level as a major strike in the aircraft industry
lasted throughout most of November.
Within manufacturing, the operating rate for advanced processing industries held steady at
81.4 percent, and the rate for primary processing fell 0.3 percentage point to 85.5 percent. Although the
operating rate for advanced processing as a whole was unchanged, the rates for several of its components
changed markedly. Utilization for nonelectrical machinery rebounded in November after output in October had
been disrupted by the California earthquake. The operating rate for aerospace and miscellaneous transportation
equipment also recovered somewhat as a result of the settlement of a strike late in the month. A further
slowdown at auto assembly facilities and auto parts manufacturers during November reduced utilization for the
motor vehicles and parts industry, despite an increase in truck production. The operating rate for auto
assemblies has been below 70 percent for most of the summer and autumn. The lower rate for primary
processing resulted from drops in utilization for both primary metals, which has been affected by the slowdown
in auto production, and petroleum products. The operating rate for primary metals fell for the third consecutive
month to 82.1 percent. Utilization for primary metals has trended down since October 1988, when it reached a
peak of 91.9 percent after climbing more than 20 percentage points since the middle of 1986.
Utilization at producers of industrial materials declined 0.3 percentage point in November to
82.9 percent, with the decreases broadly based. The operating rate at producers of metal materials has fallen
since August, with declines especially large at aluminum producers, where utilization had averaged near
100 percent for more than a year.
Capacity Utilization: Summary
Percent of capacity, seasonally adjusted
Series

1973
High

1975
Low

1978
-80
High

1982
Low

1967
-68
Ave.

1989
Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

88.6

72.1

86.9

69.5

81.6

83.9

83.4

82.8

82.7

Manufacturing
Durable manufacturing
Nondurable manufacturing

87.7
87.4
88.8

69.9
67.9
71.8

86.5
86.3
87.0

68.0
63.7
74.2

80.7
78.8
83.6

84.2
82.8
86.2

83.7
82.1
85.9

82.8
80.4
86.1

82.7
80.7
85.6

Mining
Utilities

92.8
95.6

87.8
82.9

95.2
88.5

76.9
78.0

86.5
86.7

82.4
80.0

83.1
80.6

83.5
81.1

83.8
80.9

Materials

92.0

70.5

89.1

68.5

82.3

83.9

83.5

83.2

82.9

Total industry




CAPACITY UTILIZATION
NOVEMBER DATA
SEASONALLY ADJUSTED, PERCENT
110

110
TOTAL INDUSTRY
TOTAL MATERIALS

90

90

70

70

50

1974

1976

1978

1980

1982

1984

1986

1988

1974

1976

1978

1980

1982

1984

1986

50

1988

110

110
MINING
4^

UnLITIES

90

. 90

70

70

MANUFACTURING

50

1974

1976

1978

1980

1982

1984

1986

1988

1974

1976

1978

1980

1982

1984

1986

50

1988

110

110
MANUFACTURING
ELECTRICAL MACHINERY

NONDURABLE

90

90 .

70

70
DURABLE

\f
NONELECTRICAL MACHINERY

50

1974

1976

1978

1980

1982

1984

1986

1988

no

1974

1976

1978

1980

1984

1986

50

1988

110

AyL

TEXTILE, PAPER, AND
CHEMICAL MATERIALS

1982

ALUMINUM

y

90

90

! /' \l W
70

v

^*

1976




1978

1980

1982

/ v

il 1

^

V \ i >/ v TV
RAW STEEL

1974

k

70

50

30

n

r

1984

1986

1988

1974

1976

1978

1980

\

1982

/

50

1984

1986

1988

30

MANUFACTURING, MINING AND UTILITIES
TabSa 1

Capacity Utilization
MQnthlv. seasonally adjusted. percent ofcai oacity
1973 1975 1978
-80
Low
High
Series
High

1982
Low

1967
-88
Ave.

1988
Nov

1989
Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

NoY

88.6

72.1

86.9

69.5

81.6

84.1

83.8

84.2

84.0

84.0

83.7

83.9

83.4

82.8

82.7

87.7

69.9

86.5

68.0

80.7

84.4

84.1

84.5

84.3

84.4

84.0

84.2

83.7

82.8

82.7

91.9
86.0

68.3
71.1

89.1
85.1

65.0
69.5

82.0
80.2

88.1
82.6

86.4
83.0

86.8
83.5

88.2
83.4

86.2
83.5

86.7
82.9

86.6
83.2

86.0
82.8

85.8
81.4

85.5
81.4

87.4
89.3
101.9
105.8
95.6
85.0
89.0
85.7
97.1

67.9
67.1
67.0
66.6
62.1
64.7
68.2
63.7
52.7

78.1
82.9
81.6

83.0
83.5
90.4
90.2
90.7
84.8
82.8
78.0
85.5
76.7
85.6
83.6
81.7

32.6
83.6
85.6
84.1
87.5
83.4
85.5
77.3
83.2
72.2
86.2
83.1
79.8

83.0
82.9
87.1
85.1
89.7
82.8
86.0
77.4
84.2
75.2
86.9
83.4
80.7

82.9
82.3
84.1
80.8
88.6
83.7
86.6
77.1
82.5
73.1
87.3
83.7
81.2

82.9
82.2
84.0
80.2
89.1
83.7
86.8
77.1
80.1
69.6
87.8
84.1
81.9

82.4
81.5
85.6
82.8
89.4
83.7
86.2
76.7
75.9
61.8
88.3
83.9
81.7

82.8
82.0
86.5
83.2
91.0
83.5
86.5
77.6
78.4
65.8
87.8
82.7
81.5

82.1
81.1
85.3
82.4
89.2
82.8
85.8
77.1
77.2
70.7
86.9
81.7
81.2

80.4
81.5
84.5
82.6
87.0
82.0
83.9
76.4
75.4
69.8
77.7
81.5
81.1

80.7

69.6
74.9
69.0

63.7
62.9
45.8
37.6
60.8
61.3
62.9
66.9
47.0
36.6
70.7
77.8
69.1

78.8
78.5
79.9
79.0
81.5
78.0
78.2
78.1
78.2

77.0
89.2
87.7

86.3
86.6
97.1
100.3
91.1
87.4
86.0
89.9
93.3
93.3
87.1
88.9
81.0

88.8
85.8
92.1
95.6
88,6
99.6
97.5
86.4

71.8
77.6
58.9
67.7
69.2
83.7
59.5
72.3

87.0
85.1
88.3
92.7
82.9
91.7
89.4
92.4

74.2
76.5
70.6
80.2
67.6
68.8
71.2
78.9

83.6
82.1
85.2
88.8
79.3
86.9
85.0
86.0

86.4
81.1
88.9
93.7
89.1
84.9
87.6
85.7

86.3
80.1
90.1
93.2
88.7
86.5
85.4
87.1

86.5
80.6
92.0
92.2
88.3
86.7
85.8
87.8

86.2
80.7
92.8
91.6
87.3
86.3
86.6
86.9

86.4
80.9
92.8
91.3
87.9
87.2
87.0
87.0

86.3
80.4
92.5
92.4
88.8
87.4
86.6
86.1

86.2
80.7
92.1
92.3
88.0
36.9
86.8
85.9

85.9
80.8
92.0
92.4
86.6
87.3
86.5
86.3

86.1
81.2
91.2
92.5
87.4
88.6
86.2
85.7

85.6

Mining

92.8

87.8

95.2

76.9

86.5

83.3

81.2

82.0

81.8

81.5

82.1

82.4

83.1

83.5

83.8

Utilities
Electric utilities

95.6
98.7

82.9
83.0

88.5
87.6

78.0
78.2

86.7
87.9

80.8
84.0

83.3
86.9

82.9
86.8

81.8
85.8

80.8
84.9

80.5
85.0

80.0
84.4

80.6
85.0

81.1
85.4

80.9
85.1

Qll

Qlll

1988
Qlll

Capacity
1989
QIV
Ql

Oil

Qlll

1988
Qill

Utilization
1989
Ql
QIV
Qll

Qljf

Total industry
Manufacturing
Primary processing
Advanced processing
Durable manufacturing
Stone, clay & glass prod.
Primary metals
Iron and steel
Nonferrous metals
Fabricated metal products
Nonelectrical machinery
Electrical machinery
Motor vehicles and parts
Autos
Aerosp. & misc. transp. eq.
Instruments
Other durables
Nondurable manufacturing
Foods
Textile mill products
Paper and products
Chemicals and products
Petroleum products
Rubber & plastics prod.
Other nondurables

82.1
82.0
85.5
76.1
74.9
64.3
79.1
81.1
80.9

87.8
85.2

Table 2

Output, Capacity, and Capacity Utilization
Quarterly, seasonally

adjusted
1988
QIH

QIV

Output
1989
Ql

138.4

139.9

140.7

141.8

142.2

165.2

166.3

167.5

168.7

169.9

83.8

84.1

84.0

84.1

83.7

144.0

145.8

147.0

148.3

148.8

171.5

172.8

174.3

175.7

177.2

84.0

84.4

84.4

84.4

84.0

Primary processing
Advanced processing

125.9
154.9

127.7
156.7

127.8
158.6

127.6
160.3

128.9
161.1

143.9
188.1

145.2
189.5

146.5
191.0

147.8
192.6

149.1
194.2

87.5
82.4

87.9
82.7

87.3
83.0

86.4
33.5

86.4
83.0

Durable manufacturing
Stone, clay & glass prod.
Primary metals
Iron and steel
Nonferrous metals
Fabricated metal products
Nonelectrical machinery
Electrical machinery
Motor vehicles and parts
Autos
Aerosp. & misc. transp. eq.
Instruments
Other durables

143.3
122.5
91.8
80.2
113.7
122.1
174.0
181.8
117.5
108.2
152.0
157.0
137.6

145.2
124.4
92.3
80.5
114=5
124.1
175.7
182.0
123.4
116.9
152.3
159.8
139.9

146.0
125.8
90.9
79,1
113.2
124.3
180.8
181.4
122.9
110.6
153.7
161.4
138.5

147.1
124.2
88.2
74.4
114.4
124.4
186.2
181.9
119.3
108.9
157.1
164.3
141.3

147.2
123.1
89.6
75.6
116.0
125.2
187.1
182.6
112.4
99.0
158.8
164.3
142.6

174.0
148.9
102.3
89.5
126.4
145.7
210.6
232.5
143.3
150.1
176,4
190.1
169.9

175.0
149.4
102.6
89.6
127.1
146.9
211.9
233.5
143.8
150.2
177.5
191.8
171.2

176.1
150.0
103.1
90.0
127.7
148.0
213.5
234.5
144.4
150.2
178.6
193.9
172.5

177.4
150.5
103.7
90.6
128.4
149.1
215.4
235.6
145.0
150.0
179.9
196.2
173.8

178.6
151.1
104.3
91.3
129.0
150.2
217.2
236.7
145,7
149.8
181.1
198.5
175.1

82.4
82.2
89.7
89.6
89.9
83.9
32.6
78.2
82.0
72.1
86.2
82.6
81.0

82.9
83.2
90.0
89.8
90.1
84.5
82.9
78.0
85.8
77.8
85.8
83.3
817

82.9
83.9
88.2
87.9
88.6
83.9
$4.7
77.3
85.1
73,6
S6.0
83.2
80.3

83.0
82.5
85.1
82.0
89.1
83.4
88.5
77.2
82.3
72.6
87.3
83.7
81.3

82.4
81.5
85.8
82.8
89.9
83.3
86.1
77.1
77.2
66.1
87.7
82.8
81.5

Nondurable manufacturing
Foods
Textile mill products
Paper and products
Chemicals and products
Petroleum products
Rubber & plastics prod.
Other nondurables

145.0
143.3
116.6
151.4
154.5
94.9
175.3
147.2

146.7
145.2
117.4
151.4
157.4
96.4
177.3
143.3

148.4
146.1
119.8
152.4
158.9
97.1
175.8
152.3

149.9
147.2
123.3
150.3
159.1
97.4
180.3
155.3

151.0
148.1
123.3
152.9
161.1
98.1
183.2
155.3

168.0
178.2
130.4
159.2
174.9
111.6
199.7
170.9

169.8
179.6
131.8
160.7
176.7
111.9
202.6
173.3

171.6
181.0
132.7
162.3
178.8
112.1
205.5
175.7

173.5
182.4
133.2
163.9
181.1
112.3
208.5
178.1

175.3
183.7
133.7
165.5
183.5
112.5
211.5
180.4

86.3
80.4
89.4
95.1
88.5
85.0
87.8
86.1

86.4
80.8
89.1
94.2
39.1
86.2
87.5
35.6

86.5
80.7
90.2
93.9
88.9
86.6
85.5
S6J

86.4
30.7
92.5
91.7
87.9
86.7
86.5
87.2

86.1
80.6
92.2
92.4
87.8
87.2
86.S
86.1

Mining

103.9

104.2

101.8

102.0

102.6

126.3

125.7

125.1

124.7

124.3

82.3

82.9

81.3

81.8

82.5

Utilities
Electric utilities

115.1
135.2

114.3
132.4

116.0
134.4

115.7
135.8

113.9
134.8

140.4
156.1

140.7
156.7

141.0
157.4

141.4
158.2

141.7
159.0

81.9
86.6

81.3
84.5

82.3
85.4

81.8
85.9

80.4
84.8

Series
Total industry
Manufacturing

Note. Data for output arc 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 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 ca WCftY
Series

1973
High

1975
Low

1978
-80
High

1982
Low

1967
-88
Ave.

1988
Nov

1989
Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

92.0

70.5

89.1

68.5

82.3

85.1

83.7

84.2

83.8

83.6

83.7

83.9

83.5

83.2

82.9

91.8
99.2
106.0
95.7

64.4
67.1
66.4
73.0

89.8
93.6
98.9
97.4

60.9
45.7
36.1
58.8

79.1
77.9
80.7
87.8

82.7
86.9
89.3
100.5

80.9
81.5
86.3
99.7

81.3
83.6
84.4
101.5

81.0
79.8
83.7
98.4

81.1
80.6
85.4
99.6

81.3
82.3
85.4
101.2

81.7
82.7
89.0
99.9

81.2
81.9
84.0
96.4

80.1
81.4
84.6
93.5

79.7
79.1

Nondurable goods materials
Textile, paper, & chem. mat.
Pulp & paper materials
Chemical materials

91.1
92.8
98.4
92.5

66.7
64.8
70.6
64.4

88.1
89.4
97.3
87.9

70.7
68.8
79.9
63.5

83.6
84.1
92.0
81.3

89.4
90.9
96.7
90.5

88.8
90.2
95.3
89.7

89.2
90.7
94.5
90.1

88.7
89.6
93.2
88.4

88.7
89.8
93.7
88.5

89.2
90.6
95.0
89.5

88.8
90.1
95.1
88.6

87.5
88.8
95.2
86.7

88.3
89.6
95.4
87.9

87.9
89.0

Energy materials

94.6

86.9

94.0

82.3

88.9

86.2

85.4

86.0

85.5

83.8

83.9

84.3

85.1

85.5

85.3

Capacity
1989
Ql
QIV

Qll

Qlll

1988
Qlll

Utilization
1989
QIV
Ql

Qll

Qlll

Materials
Durable goods materials
Metal materials
Raw steel
Aluminum

Table 4

Output, Capacity, and Capacity Utilization
Quarterly, seasonally adjusted
Output
1988
Qlll

QIV

Ql

Qll

Qlll

1988
Qlll

126.5

128.0

127.6

127.9

128.5

150.1

150.8

151.7

152.6

153.5

84.3

84.9

84.1

83.9

83.7

Durable goods materials
Metal materials
Raw steel
Aluminum

137.1
92.7
85.9
97.2

139.2
94.8
79.5
97.8

138 6
92.3
79.8
98.5

139.0
90.0
76.2
99.1

140.4
91.4
78.2
98.9

167.9
109.5
88.9
96.7

169.0
109.8
89.2
97.9

170.1
110.2
89.6
98.7

171.3
110.6
90.2
99.2

172.5
111.0
90.8
99.7

81.6
84.8
96.8
100.5

82.4
86.3
89.1
99.9

81.5
83.8
89.0
99.7

81.1
81.4
84.5
99.8

81.4
82.3
86.1
99.2

Nondurable goods materials
Textile, paper, & chem. mat.
Pulp & paper materials
Chemical materials

132.8
135.3
148.9
139.4

135.4
138.1
148.6
144.1

136.3
139.2
148.4
145.4

137.1
139.8
146.1
145.7

137.9
141.1
149.9
146.5

149.8
150.2
150.7
157.4

151.2
151.8
152.3
159.3

152.7
153.5
154.0
161.4

154.2
155.3
155.8
163.7

155.8
157.0
157.6
165.9

88.6
90.0
98.8
88.6

89.5
91.0
97.6
90.5

89.3
90.7
96.4
90.1

88.9
90.0
93.8
89.0

88.5
89.9
95.1
88.3

Energy materials

102.5

102.0

100.7

100.7

99.7

119.0

118.7

118.4

118.3

118.1

86.0

86.0

85.0

85.1

84.4

Series
Materials

Explanatory Notes.
Definition. This release contains estimates of output, capacity, and capacity
utilization for the nation's factories, mines, and electric and gas utilities.
Outi
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 are aggregated to
primary 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.
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 16th 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 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. Historical
utilization rates since 1967 (1948 in the case of manufacturing) are included in
the statistical supplement to the October 1987 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 1990. At 9:15 a.m. on January 17, February 16, March
16, April 17, May 15, June 15, July 17, August 16, September 14, October 17,
November 14, and December 14.