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FEDERAL RESERVE statistical release
G.3 (402)

For Immediate release

CAPACITY UTILIZATION
Manufacturing, Mining, Utilities, and Industrial Materials

October 17, 1986

Capacity utilization in manufacturing, mining, and utilities was
79#2 percent in September. The September rate was the same as in August and
in both the second and third quarters; it was 1.1 percentage points lower
than a year earlier. Although there was no change in overall utilization in
the third quarter, the rates for manufacturing and utilities recovered somewhat while the rate for mining declined further. The 73.2 percent rate for
mining in the third quarter is the lowest level for this series, which begins
in 1967; the depressed operating rate in this industry reflects the low level
of activity in metal mining and oil and gas well drilling.
Capacity utilization in manufacturing edged up 0.1 percentage point
to 79.8 percent in September reflecting a small increase in durable manufacturing. Utilization in nondurable manufacturing was unchanged. A rebound in
automobile assemblies in September more than offset a sharp drop the month
before. Increases in other industries were relatively small. Decreases in
petroleum products and aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment
partially offset increases in these series for the previous month.
With
changes generally small, industries that have operated recently at relatively
high rates—such as textiles, paper, petroleum refining and aerospace—
continued high while industries producing metals and machinery continued
at low rates•
Producers of industrial materials operated at 78.0 percent of
capacity in September, down 0.1 percentage point from August. This rate has
changed little since May.

Capacity Utilization: Summary
Percent of capacity, seasonally adjusted
Series

1973

Higfe

1975
LW
O

1978
-80
High

1982
Lou

1967
-85
Avg.

JON

1966
|

JOL

I AUG

I

SEP

88.6

72.1

86.9

69.5

81.7

79. 0

79.3

79.2

79.2

Manufacturing
Durable
Nondurable

87.7
87.4
88.9

69.9
67.9
71.8

86.5
86.3
87. Q

68.0
63.7
74.4

80.6
78.7
83.$

79.3
75.7
84.7

79.8
76.3
85.1

79.7
76.3
84.8

79.8
76.4
84.8

tvitniny

92.8
95.$

87.8
82.9

95.2
88.5

76.9
78.0

87.7
37.9

74.9
79.2

73.5

ao^7

73.1
80.1

72.9
60.6

92.0

70.5

89.1

68. «

82.5

78.0

78.3

78.1

78.0

Total Industry

Utilities

Industrial Materials



CAPACITY UTILIZATION

SEPTEMBER DATA

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED, PERCENT

110
TOTAL INDUSTRY

TOTAL MATERIALS
90

70

50
110
MINING

UTILITIES

90

• \ 7

\ /
\/

MANUFACTURING

70

\ /

50
110
MANUFACTURING

ELECTRICAL
MACHINERY
90

NONDURABLE

70

50
110
MOTOR VEHICLES
AND PARTS
90

70

50

30
1971

1974




1977

1980

1983

1986

1971

1974

1977

1980

1983

MANUFACTURING, MINING AND UTILITIES
Table 1

Capacity Utilization
Monthly, seasonally adjusted, percent of capacity
1973 | 1975 1 1978 1 1982 1 1967
Series
Hxyh 1 Low J - 8 0
| Lou
j -8b
1 Avq.
j
i ax^a i
1
1
1
I
88.61
72.11
t>9.5l
81.7
Total Industry
8o-9l
1
•
i
1 tiO-o
67.71
69.9)
86.51
Manufacturing
68.01
1
•
•
1
91.91
68.31
81.7
89.11
Primary processing
65. 11
86.01
85.11
71.11
69.51
80.1
Advanced processing
I
1
•
1
87.4J
67.9J
63.71
78.7
86.31
Durable manufacturing
89.3|
67. 11
86.61
62.9J
77.8
Stone, clay and glass products
101.91
67.01
97.11
45.81
80.1
Primary metals
105.8J
66.6J 100.34
37.61
79.4
Iron and steel, subtotal
95.6|
62.11
91.11
i>0.8l
81.3
Nonferrous metals, subtotal
85.0)
64.7J
87.41
61.31
77.9
Fabricated metal products
Nonelectrical machinery
89. 0 j
68.21
S6.01
62.91
78.5
85.71
63.71
89.91
66.91
78.3
Electrical machinery
97. 1j
52.71
93.JJ
4 7.01
77.9
Motor vehicles and parts
J
Automobiles
J 93.31
3o.6l
77.Oj
69.61
87.11
70.71
76.4
Aerospace and misc. trans, eqp.
89.21
74.91
88.91
77.81
83-4
Instruments
69.Oj
69.1)
87.7j
81.01
81-7
Other durables
1
i
1
1 71.81
83.5
87.01
Nondurable manufacturing
74.41
88.81
85.8|
77.6J
85.11
76-51
82.3
Food and kindred products
9^.11
58.91
86.3i
70.61
84.5
Textile mill products
Paper and products
95.6|
67.71
92.7|
80.81
88.4
Chemicals and products
88.61
bV.2l
82.91
67.61
76.6
Petroleum products
99.61
83.71
91.71
69.71
87-7
Rubber and plastics products
97-51
59.51
89.41
71.21
84.6
72.31
Other nondurables
8b.41
92.4J
78.91
86.0
i

Mining

92.81
1

87.8J

95.21

Utilities
Electric utilities

95.61
98.71
1

82.91
83.0J
1

88.51
87.61

1
76.9|
78.01
78.21
i

I

1985 1
SEP 1
1
1
80-3!

80.9

80.2

79.0

79.5

79.1

79.0

79.3

79.2

79.2

1

80.8

80. 2

79.1

79.9

79.4

79.3

79.8

>79_7

79.8

•
82.51
78.91

84.4
79.2

83.6
78.6

82-4
77.4

83.2
78.5

62.9
78.0

82.7
77.7

83.0
78.4

S3-3
78.1

83.4
78.0

78.4
83.0
74.7
69.9
82.2
81.8
73.7
72.1
84-5
83-8
87.2
82.0
83.3

77.7
82.3
72.9
67.5
81-4
81.2
72.9
71.4
84.3
85.1
86.2
81.9
83.1

76.5
82.6
69.3
62.6
79.7
80.6
71.7
71.4
78.2
74.6
86-0
81.7
82.7

77.1
83- o
71.41
64-0
81.9
81.0
71.0
72.0
81.3
80.3
87.3
81.7
83.2

76.3
62.4
66.1
58.9
82.5
79.7
71.1
71-5
78.4
75.6
87.3
80.2
83.5

75.7
82.7
65.1
57-1
77.6
79.8
70.5
70. 1
79.7
79.3
87.0
79.7
82.9

76.3
81.7
67.1
60.41
77.5
78.9
71.4
71.5
80.0
76-1
87.1
80.5
83.0

76.3
£1-7
66.4
59.1
77**
79.6:
71.3
71.4
77.8
70.2
S9.U
80.7
83.2.

76.4

84.5
78.7
87.5
94.6
80.3
92.8
86-5
86.3

83.9
79.1
89.1
93.8
80.4
86.3
86.7
86.1

83.0
78.5
87-4
93.4
79.1
86.9
84.4
86.0

64.1
76.8
90.2
94.4
80.5
89^6
33.5
87.5

84.1
78.9
90.1
93.6
79.6
93.9
85.0
87.2

84.7
79-3
91.1
96.2
81.1
90.1
85.9
87.3

85.1
78.6
9U4
96.8
81.3
90.2
87.5
88.4

84.8
79-0
31.7
96.8
81.4
92.9
86.1
86.4

84.8

81-6

79.4

77.9

76.4

75.5

74.9

73.5

73. 1

72.9

82.7
81.5

80.4
81.3

80.1
81.2

80.0
82.3

79.3
H2.2

79.2
83.0

80.7
84.3

80.1
83.5

80.6
84.0

60.0|

|

I
I

1
I
1
\
|
I
1
1
|
I
I
1
1
i
i
1
1
1
»
i
I
1
|
1

77.81
81.81
72.81
67.61
81.21
80.01
74.01
72.41
83.61
79.61
84.6J
ai-7i
83.01
i
1
83.3J
79.71
87-Oi
91.41
79.31
83.2J
87.2J
86.21
1
87.7
81.71
>
1
87.9 |
83.8J
88.7 1 83. M
I
1

1986
i.
JAN 1 fSB 1 flAB 1 kSSL 1 RkX i JUH 1 JUL 1 AU6 i SEP

66.5

80.1
70.5
73-5
80.9
77.0
88.1
80.5
83.6

91.5
86.6

Table 2

Output, Capacity, and Capacity Utilization
Quarterly, seasonally adjusted

Total Industry

OUTPUT
1
1966
I
Q4
Ul
Q2
Q3
1
1
1
124.0 124.71125.0 124.4 125. 11
1

Manufacturing

126.8 127.41126.4 128. 4 129.51

Series

Primary processing
Advanced processing

i

109.2 110.31111-5 131.1 1 1 1 . 9 1
137.4 137.61138.5 138.:* 14U.1J

132.7 1 3 3 . 1 1 1 3 3 . 6 134.0 134.51
173.9 175.31 176.7 177.9 179.21

i

1

Durable manufacturing
Stone, clay and glass products
Primary metais
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

127.5
116.8
80.5
70.1
100.2
106.8
145.0
165.3
133.7
114.5
137.1
140.1
123.7

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

125.9
131.4
105.1
127.7
128.1
87.2
148.2
127.4

Mining
Utilities
Electric utilities

127.91128.3
117.01 119.6
82.21 79.7
72.61 66.7
100.31100.5
107.91108.4
144.3J 1*3.5
166.61165.4
111.81113.7
108.41116.6
140.61143.0
139.61141.8
123.6J126,O
1
126.81128.6
131.01132.3
108.51108.6
129.31132.8
127.91131.3
88.21 ?1*1
149.5|149.7
129.41129.9

107.9 107.11 105.4

127.6J
1
72.91
1
1
106.31
142.31
167.11
110.81
106.21
146.91
142.31
128.21
1
130.2 132. 11
133.8
1
j)
111.8
134.8
1
132.8
1
93.0 93.11
149.7
1
131.8 132. 71
•
127. 1
120.6
74.8
61.4
100.0
107.1
140.9
165.3
110.6
112.2
144.8
140.9
127.2

99-9

96.61
*
111.1 112.81110.5 106.9 110.61
118.6 120.61 119.6 122.2
1

1985
Q3

163.4
143.2
111.0
104.3
123.7
133.3
194.2
226.6
135.4
141.0
164.1
169.7
149-3
151.3
165,3
122.9
139.8
162.5
102.6
170.0
147.1

164.5| 165.5 166.4
144-11 144.9 145.8
110.61 110.2 109.8
103.71103.0 102.2
123.81 123.9 124.1
133-41133-5 133.6
195.71 197.2 198.7
228.91230.7 232.2
137.01 138.1 138.6
142.91 143.6 143. 1
164.71 165.4 166. 1
171.51173-2 174.9
150.61 151.7 152.8
•
152.41153.5 154.5
166.71 168.1 169.4
123.2J 123.4 123.6
140.61 141.4 142.3
163.4] 164.3 165.2
102.31102.0 101.9
172.11174.3 176.5
14a. 41149.6 150.9
i

1985
Q3
80.3
60.1
82.3
79.0

UTILIZAXIOK
1986
Q2
Ql
1
80.21
79.2
1
79.5
79.91 80.0
1
82.81 83.5
82.9
78.51 78.4
78.0

U4

Q3
79.2
79-8
83.2
78.2

i

167.21
1
109.41
1
1
133.71
200.21
233.7|
139.21
142.71
166.91
176.61
153.91

78.0
81.5
72.5
67.3
81.0
60.1
74.6
72.9
84-0
81.2
83.$
82.6
82.9

77.71
81.2J
74.3|
70.01
81.01
80.9|
73.71
72.81
81-61
75.9J
85. 3 J
81.41
82.11
1

77.5
82.6
72.3
66.7
81.1
81.2
72.3
71.7
82.3
61.2
86.5
81.9
83.1

76.4
82.9
6a. i
60.0
80.6
do.1
70.9
71.2
19.8
7&-4
87.2
ftO-5
83.2

155.61
1
1
1
1
101.8J
1
152.11

83.2
79.5
#5.5
91.4
78.8
65.0
37.1
86.6

83.2!
78-6J
88. 11
92. 0J
78.2|
86.21
86. 81
87. 2 J
1

83.8
78.7
88.0
93.9
79.9
89.3
85.9
86.8

84-3
29.Q
90.4
94.7
80.4
91.2
«*-8
87*3

81. 5

80.91 79.6
1
8 3 . 2 | 81.1
82,61 81.3

75.6

73.2

79.5
82.5

80.5
83.9

1

i

132.4 132-51 132.4 132.1 131.91
1
135.0 135.71 136.3 136.9 137.51
144.9 146.0) 147.1 148.1 149.0J

Rot*. Data for output are percentages of 1377 output as shown in the Federal Reserve's seasonally t # & « e d indexes of industrial production. Capacity is also expressed as a percentage of




CAPACITY
1986
Q2
Ql

1
1
Q4
Q3
1
1
154.4 1 D 5 . 41 156.3 157.1 157.91
1
i
158.4 159.51160.5 161.4 162.31
1
I

1985

82.3
83.8

76.3
66.7

79.5
71-1
71.5
79.6
74.5
88.1
80.6
03.3
84.9

91.5
87.2

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

INDUSTRIAL MATERIALS
Table 3

Capacity Utilization
;
Monthly, seasonally adjustted, percent of capacity
Series

High | Low

-80

"JAN

L
I
Industrial Materials

92.01

1
8J.1J
1
i
89.8)
1
93.61
I

70.

I
I
Durable goods materials

91.81
I

Metal materials
Raw steel
Aluminum

99.2}
1
106.01
9b.7|

I
I
I

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

i
98.4|
92.51
I
I

Energy materials

67.

66
73
66.

94.6}

!

70.61

b4.4|
I

1
86.91
1

J FEfl

| MAB j ikPJk | HAY j JUS j JUL j AUG

SEP

I
68.41
1
1

82.5]

60.91

79.31

1
45* 71
I

98. 91

64.

92.81

I 1982 | 1967 1 1985 j
1 Low 1 -85 1 SEP 1. 1986

97.41
I
I
88.11
I
83.41
1

97.31
87.91
i
1

1

79.5|
1
1
75.8J
1
69.11
I

1
I

69.4(
71.7|
I
I

I
I
I
78.41

Jo. 11
58.8J

81.11
88.11

I
I
70.61
i

83.21

68.6|
1

79.91
t>J.3|
I
1
82.21
1

I
83.ol
I
91.4|
80.8|

I
I
89.7|
I

82.61
I
83.11
1

91.01
80.01
I
I
85.21
I

ao. i

79.6

78.5

78.7

78.1

78.0

78.3

78.1

78.0

76.5

75.9

74.5

74.9

73.7

73.2

73.6

73.5

73.5

71.0

69.0

66.0

68.3

65.2

63.2

63.8

63.4

63.9

72.4
68.6

70.2
69.8

67.7
71.3

oti.tt
72.1

64.9
72.4

63.2
64.7

63.5
61.4

58.9
64.2

83.7

83.5

82.5

8J.6

83.5

84.3

84.9

85.1

85.0

84.3

64.2

83.4

83.6

84.2

85.1

85.5

86.1

86.0

94.6

93.8

93.0

93.6

93.1

95.9

96.9

97.2

80.8

80.2

79.4

79.4

80.2

80.4

80.5

80.9

85.1

64,3

83.7

82.8

82.9

83.1

82.6

81.7

81.3

Table 4

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

UTILIZATION
1985

1985
_Q3

198b

Q4
Industrial Materials

Durable goods materials

113.8
120.4
79.6

Raw steel
Aluminum

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

Energy materials

71.8
84.2

113.4
113.3
123.8
113.6
102.5

114.31114.5
1
I
121.11120.9
I
82.61 79.0
J
68.64 71.4
78.6J 79.1
1
1
113.91115.7
i
114. pi 116.2
1
124.81128.8
113.41115.3
1
I
102.61102.2
I

113.3 113.41
118.8
75.1
66.2
77.7
116.9
117.0
130.1
115.4

100.6

Q4

1986
Q1

142.8 14j.6| 144.2
1
1
118.71 157.8 159.01159.9
J
72.61 115.9
115.51115.0
I
103.3
115.8 102.71101.8
114.71113.2
I
118.91 138.1
i
138.6| 139.0
119.61 137.5 138.0M38.4
I
135.8
143. 1 136.5| 137.3
143.61144.0
I
99.41 120.6
I
I
120.91121.1
I

1986

1985
Q2
144.7 145.31 79.7
I
i
160.7 1&1.5J 7t>.3
i
114.5 114.Oj 68.7
1
100.9
1 69.5
111.4
1 72./
I
I
139.5 139.9J 82.1
138.8 139.21 82.4
I
138.1
1 91.1
144.3
1 79.4
I
I
121.3 121.41 85.0
I

Q3

79.61
1
J
76.2|
I
71.51
I
66.81
O8.5|

79.4

78.3

78.1

75.6

73.9

73.5

t>6.7

65.6

63.7

70.1
69.9

65.6
69.7

I
I
82.21
I
82.71
I
91.41
79.0|
I
1
84.9|

83.2

83.8

85.0

S3.9

84.3

85.9

93.8
80.1

94.2
80.0

84.4

82.9

81.9

Explanatory Notes
Definition. This release contains estimates of output, capacity, and capacity utiiization 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.




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 1986. Approximately 11 a.m. on January 17, February 18, March 17,
April 16, May 16, June 16, July 16, August 18, September 17, October 17, November 17, and
December 17.