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FEDERAL RESERVE statistical release i l l l i
For release at 9:15 a.m. (EDT)
May 15,1989

G.3 (402)

CAPACITY UTILIZATION
Manufacturing, Mining, Utilities, and Industrial Materials

Capacity utilization in manufacturing, mining, and utilities increased 0.2 percent in April to
83.9 percent. The operating rate for mining increased more than a percentage point while the rates for
manufacturing and utilities were little changed. Operating rates both for total industry and for manufacturing
from January through March were revised downward. Total utilization appears to have eased slightly since
January, principally reflecting declines in primary processing industries.
Utilization for both primary and advanced processing industries edged up in April after having
fallen the prior two months. The easing since the start of the year has shown up in many industries, especially
building-related industries. Operating rates both for other durables, which includes lumber and furniture, and
for stone, clay and glass products have declined since January. Utilization in the iron and steel industry, which
had been around 90 percent during the last part of 1988, has fallen off considerably since January. In contrast,
utilization rates for nonelectrical machinery and for aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment have
continued up this year. Orders for commercial aircraft have continued strong during recent months while
demand for railroad equipment has increased substantially.
Utilization for producers of industrial materials increased 0.4 percentage point in April to
84.2 percent after having fallen more than a percentage point since November. The strength in April reflected
increases for energy materials, especially coal mining and oil and natural gas extraction.

Capacity Utilization: Summary
Percent of capacity, seasonally adjusted
Series

1973
High

1975
Low

1978
-80
High

1982
Low

1967
--88
Ave.

1989
Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

88.6

72.1

86.9

69.5

81.6

84.3

83.9

83.7

83.9

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

84.7
83.2
86.8

84.2
82.8
86.3

83.9
82.4
86.1

84.0
82.6
86.2

Mining
Utilities

92.8
95.6

87.8
82.9

95.2
88.5

76.9
78.0

86.5
86.7

82.2
80.9

80.7
82.6

81.6
82.1

82.7
82.1

Materials

92.0

70.5

89.1

68.5

82.3

84.6

84.0

83.8

84.2

Total industry




CAPACITY UTILIZATION
APRIL DATA
SEASONALLY ADJUSTED, PERCENT
110

90

70

i

1974

1976

1978

1980

1982

1984

1986

1988

1974

i

i

1976

i

i.

1978

i

i

1980

i

_i

i

1982

1984

1986

1

1 50

1988

110

110

MINING

90

k\

UTILITIES

vvv'^.
V

90

70

MANUFACTURING
50

i

1974

1976

1978

,i

i

1980

, i i

,, i.

1982

1984

•

1986

1988

1974

1976

1978

1980

i

1982

50

i

1984

1986

1988

110

110

MANUFACTURING
ELECTRICAL MACHINERY

NONDURABLE

1 90

/

V
L

\v „ > /

J

70

DURABLE
NONELECTRICAL MACHINERY
50

1974

1976

1978

1980

1982

1984

1986

1988

1974

1976

1978

1980

1982

1984

1986

1988

110

50
110

ALUMINUM

TEXTILE, PAPER, AND
CHEMICAL MATERIALS

90

70

50

30

50

•

1974

1976




1978

1980

•

«

1982

i

...

i.

1984

•

1986

1988

1974

1976

1978

1980

1982

1984

1986

1988

30

MANUFACTURING, MINING AND UTILITIES
Table 1

Capacity Utilization
Monthly, seasonally adjusted, percent of capacity
1973
High

Series

1975
Low

1978
-80
High

1982
Low

1967
-88
Ave.

1988
Apr

1988
Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

1989
Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

88.6

72.1

86.9

69.5

81.6

82.7

83.8

83.7

84.0

84.1

84.3 I

84.3

83.9

83.7

83.9

87.7

69.9

86.5

68.0

80.7

82.9

84.0

84.0

84.3

84.4

84.4

84.7

84.2

83.9

84.0

91.9
86.0

68.3
71.1

89.1
85.1

65.0
69.5

82.0
80.2

86.9
81.2

87.4
82.4

87.2
82.4

87.9
82.6

88.1
82.6

87.9
82.8

88.4
83.1

87.1
82.9

86.7
82.6

86.8
82.8

Durable manufacturing
87.4
Stone, clay & glass prod.
89.3
Primary metals
101.9
Iron and steel
105.8
Nonferrous metals
95.6
Fabricated metal products
85.0
Nonelectrical machinery
89.0
Electrical machinery
85.7
Motor vehicles and parts
97.1
Autos
Aerosp. & misc. transp. eq. 77.0
Instruments
89.2
Other durables
87.7

67.9
67.1
67.0
66.6
62.1
64.7
68.2
63.7
52.7

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
78.1
82.9
81.6

80.9
81.9
83.7
83.4
84.1
82.3
80.1
77.3
80.5
69.3
86.6
80.2
82.2

82.3
82.3
88.8
38.2
89.6
84.0
82.7
78.4
82.0
70.7
85.8
82.5
80.9

82.5
82.2
90.9
90.9
90.9
84.1
82.8
78.1
82.6
74.2
85.9
82.8
80.7

82.8
82.6
91.9
92.8
90.7
83.7
82.2
78.5
84.7
77.0
86.2
83.6
81.2

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

83.1
83.6
87.6
86.5
89.1
84.9
83.7
77.3
87.2
79.8
85.6
82.7
82.4 .

83.2
84.5
90.6
91.6
89.3
84.3
83.9
77.3
86.6
75.7
85.7
83.4
81.7

82.8
83.5
88.4
87.9
89.1
84.1
84.4
77.4
85.4
72.9
86.2
83.2
79.5

82.4
83.8
86.4
84.5
88.9
83.7
84.8
76.9
82.9
71.7
86.1
82.8
79.9

82.6

69.6
74.9
69.0

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

85.9
79.6
91.3
94.9
86.2
88.5
88.0
86.3

86.4
80.4
89.3
94.8
88.6
86.0
87.8
86.1

86.2
80.1
88.8
94.5
88.7
83.9
87.3
86.3

86.4
80.4
89.1
94.7
89.0
86.1
87.7
86.0

86.4
81.1
88.9
93.7
89.1
84.9
87.6
85.7

86.3
81.0
89.1
94.1
89.2
87.5
87.2
85.1

86.8
81.2
90.7
95.1
89.3
87.5
86.0
86.5

86.3
80.9
89.8
93.4
88.4
85.9
85.5
86.6

86.1
80.4
91.3
92.2
88.8
85.1
84.6
86.6

86.2

Mining

92.8

87.8

95.2

76.9

86.5

82.3

82.2

82.3

81.9

83.3

83.6

82.2

80.7

81.6

82.7

Utilities
Electric utilities

95.6
98.7

82.9
83.0

88.5
87.6

78.0
78.2

86.7
87.9

79.3
82.2

83.9
88.9

80.4
84.6

81.0
84.9

80.8
84.0

82.0
84.7

80.9
83.4

82.6
86.0

82.1
85.3

82.1
85.2

1989

1988

1989 I
Ql

1988
Ql

Qll

QUI

82.4

82.8

83.8

84.1 | 83.9

Total industry
Manufacturing
Primary processing
Advanced processing

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

85.6

83.6
85.0
77.2
84.7
75.2
86.4
82.5
79.5
86.2

86.5

Table 2

Output, Capacity, and Capacity Utilization
Quarterly, seasonally

adjusted
Output

Series

Capacity

1988
Ql

Oil

QUI

QIV

134.5

136.0

138.4

139.9

140.6

139.6

141.5

144.0

145.8

Primary processing
Advanced processing

123.0
149.7

123.9
152.3

125.9
154.9

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

138.4
121.5
86.0
76.5
104.1
117.8
163.7
177.2
110.6
92.6
153.9
149.0
137.8

141.0
122.1
87.3
75.8
109.1
119.7
169.6
179.1
117.9
109.9
151.5
151.6
138.1

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

141.4
141.4
116.2
149.0
146.6
96.9
171.7
143.0

Mining
Utilities
Electric utilities

Total industry
Manufacturing

QL

I 1989

I

Ql

Qll

QUI

163.1

164.2

165.2

166.3 ! 167.5 !

146.9

168.9

170.2

171.5

172.8

174.3

82.7

83.2

84.0

84.4

84.3

127.7
156.7

128.0
158.2

141.6
185.4

142.7
186.7

143.9
188.1

145.2
189.5

146.5
191.0

86.9
80.7

86.8
81.5

87.5
82.4

87.9
82.7

87.4
82.9

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

145.8
125.9
91.2
79.2
113.8
124.4
180.1
181.1
122.7
110.3
153.6
161.2
138.6

172.0
147.9
101.6
89.2
125.1
143.8
208.0
230.5
142.3
149.8
174.2
186.6
167.3

173.0
148.4
102.0
89.3
125.8
144.6
209.3
231.5
142.8
149.9
175.3
188.3
168.6

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

80.4
82.1
84.7
85.8
83.2
81.9
78.7
76.9
77.8
61.8
88.3
79.9
82.3

81.5
82.2
85.7
84.8
86.8
82.7
81.0
77.4
82.5
73.3
86.4
80.5
81.9

82.4
82.2
89.7
89.6
89.9
83.9
82.6
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
81.7

82.8
83.9
88.5
88.0
89.1
84.0
84.3
77.2
85.0
73.5
86.0
83.1
80.4

142.3
140.9
115.4
149.1
149.5
95.9
173.4
144.5

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
148.3

148.3
146.3
120.2
151.8
158.9
96.6
175.4
152.0

164.6
175.4
127.5
156.2
171.7
111.1
193.9
166.2

166.3
176.8
128.9
157.7
173.2
111.4
196.8
168.6

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

85.9
80.6
91.1
95.4
85.3
87.2
88.5
86.1

85.6
79.7
895
94.5
86.3
86.1
88.1
85.7

86.3
80.4
89.4
95.1
88.5
85.0
87.8
86.1

86.4
80.8
89.1
94.2
89.1
86.2
87.5
85.6 j

86.4
80.8
90.6
93.5
88.9
86.1
85.4
86.6

102.5

103.4

103.9

104.2

102.0

127.7

127.0

126.3

125.7

125.1 |

80.3

81.5

82.3

82.9

81.5

114.7
130.0

111.9
129.8

115.1
135.2

114.3
132.4

115.5
133.6

139.8
154.8

140.1
155.4

140.4
156.1

140.7
156.7

141.0|
157.4!

82.0
84.0

79.9
83.5

81.9
86.6

81.3
84.5

81.9
84.9

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




QL

Utilization
I
QIV

QIV

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 capacity
Series

1973
High

1975
Low

1978
-80
Hiah

1982
Low

1967
-88
/we.

1988
Apr

1988
Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

1989
Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

8<Ld

82.9

84.3

84.1

84.7

85.1

84.9

84.6

84.0

83.8

84.2

92.0

70.5

89.1

68.5

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

79.7
79.3
83.4
99.5

81.4
83.4
98.0
100.5

81.9
86.0
97.5
100.3

82.4
87.3
90.4
99.8

82.7
86.9
89.3
100.5

82.1
84.6
87.6
99.4

82.1
86.1
93.3
100.2

81.4
83.9
87.6
99.2

80.9
82.6
86.3
100.0

81.0
82.1

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

91.1
92.8
98.4
92.5

G6.7
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

88.7
90.1
98.1
88.0

88.8
90.3
98.4
89.0

88.2
89.4
97.9
88.0

89.3
90.9
97.8
90.2

89.4
90.9
96.7
90.5

89.8
91.3
98.4
90.7

90.1
91.5
98.1
90.7

89.0
90.4
95.9
89.8

89.2
90.8
94.7
90.5

89.4
91.2

Energy materials

94.6

86.9

94.0

82.3

88.9

84.5

86.6

85.3

85.3

86.2

86.5

84.9

85.0

85.2

86.4

1988
Q!

Qil

QUI

QIV

1989
Ql

1988
Ql

Qll

QUI

QIV

1989
Ql

Materials
Durable goods materials
Metal materials
Raw steel
Aluminum

Table 4

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

Utilization

Caoacitv

1988
Ql

Qll

QUI

QIV

1989
Ql

122.5

124.0

126.5

128.0

127.6

148.5

149.3

150.1

150.8

151.7

82.5

83.0

84.3

84.9

84.2

Durable goods materials
Metal materials
Raw steel
Aluminum

131.5
86.2
77.7
92.5

134.1
88.1
77.1
94.8

137.1
92.7
85.9
97.2

139.2
94.8
79.5
97.8

138.6
92.8
79.8
98.5

165.7
108.8
88.7
94.3

166.8
109.1
88.7
95.5

167.9
109.5
88.9
96.7

169.0
109.8
89.2
97.9

170.1
110.2
89.6
98.7

79.4
79.2
87.5
98.1

80.4
80.8
86.9
99.2

81.6
84.8
96.8
100.5

82.4
86.3
89.1
99.9

81.5
84.2
89.0
99.8

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

129.4
131.6
145.7
133.5

130.4
132.4
145.9
135.7

132.8
135.3
148.9
139.4

135.4
138.1
148.6
144.1

136.6
139.5
148.1
145.8

146.8
146.7
147.6
153.5

148.3
148.5
149.2
155.4

149.8
150.2
150.7
157.4

151.2
151.8
152.3
159.3

152.7
153.5
154.0
161.4

88.1
89.7
98.7
87.0

87.9
89.2
97.8
87.3

88.6
90.0
98.8
88.6

89.5
91.0
97.6
90.5

89.5
90.9
96.2
90.3

Energy materials

100.9

100.6

102.5

102.0

100.7

119.7

119.4

119.0

118.7

118.4

84.3

84.2

86.0

86.0

85.0

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.
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 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,
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 \n 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 as high as 90 percent have been exceeded only in wartime.
Revisions. The first estimates for a month are published about the 16th of tl>e
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 Resen>e 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. 2055 I.
Rounding. Utilization rates are calculated from unrounded capacity and
production indexes. Aggregates are derived from unrounded detailed
components.
Release schedule for 1989. At 9:15 a.m. on January 18, February 15, March
16, April 14, May 15, June 15, July 14, August 16, September 15, October 17,
November 14, and December 15.