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The Federal Reserve’s new industrial production figures show greater hurricane-related damage to real U.S. manufacturing output in September than in August, with the losses in chemical industries using oil and gas feedstocks great enough to plunge all of domestic industry into a technical recession. Inflation-adjusted manufacturing production is now 0.14 percent lower than in February. Yet on month, overall after-inflation manufacturing output eked out a 0.10 percent gain.

Most seriously affected by the devastation of the energy-rich Texas and Louisiana Gulf coasts were organic chemicals (where monthly production plunged by 14.71 percent), and plastics materials and resins (down 8.16 percent) — both post-recession worsts. The volatile artificial and synthetic fibers and filaments sector, whose after-inflation sequential output was reported to have sunk by 11.25 percent on month in August saw that figure upgraded to an 8.44 percent decline and boosted its monthly real output in September by 5.83 percent – its best since last September (9.67 percent). Price-adjusted oil refinery production for August was slightly downgraded to a 2.52 percent fall-off (its biggest since January, 2010’s 2.75 percent), but September monthly production dipped only fractionally.

The non-durable goods supersector containing these chemical industries saw its constant dollar output slump by the greatest rate (0.89 percent) since January, 2015 (1.20 percent). Revisions for real manufacturing output as a whole were negative, with August’s reading slightly upgraded but July’s downgraded from a slight increase to a significant drop.

Good news came from the automotive sector, however, especially its first back-to-back monthly real production increases since the May-October period last year, and a strongly upgraded August gain (3.56 percent) that was the sector’s best since June, 2016 (3.89 percent). As of September, however, in inflation-adjusted terms, American manufacturing is 4.26 percent smaller than when the last recession began at the end of 2007 – more than nine years ago.

Here are the manufacturing highlights of the Federal Reserve’s new release on September industrial production:

>Although September’s manufacturing production figures showed hurricane-related damage to American industry to be considerably worse than in August, and indeed bad enough to plunge the entire sector into a technical recession, industry managed an overall 0.10 percent real monthly production increase during the months.

>Due to major constant dollar output drops in chemicals and especially sectors heavily reliant on oil and gas feedstocks from the storm-struck Texas and Louisiana Gulf coasts, domestic manufacturing output after inflation was 0.14 percent lower in September than in February – a seven-month stretch that conforms with the standard definition of a recession (two consecutive quarters of economic contraction).

>The worst September sequential real output losses were suffered by organic chemicals (14.71 percent), and plastics materials and resins (8.16 percent). These decreases were the biggest experienced by these industries since recessionary September, 2008 (24.92 percent), and December, 2008 (11.72 percent), respectively.

>Interestingly, an artificial and synthetic filaments and fibers sector whose (volatile) real production fell sequentially by an initially reported 9.10 percent saw that result now judged as an 8.44 percent drop (still its biggest since recessionary November, 2008’s 11.25 percent). Moreover, its September production is now pegged as rising by 5.83 percent – the best such on month increase since last September’s 9.67 percent.

>Similarly, although inflation-adjusted petroleum refinery output in September dropped sequentially by 2.52 percent (the biggest such fall-off since January, 2010’s 2.75 percent), the monthly August decrease was revised up from 1.93 percent to a minimal 0.06 percent.

>All the same, these results were enough to depress monthly constant dollar output in the enormous chemicals industry by a downwardly revised 2.31 percent in August and another 2.62 percent in September. The latter result was the sector’s worst such result since recessionary December, 2008’s 4.85 percent shrinkage.

>And in the larger non-durable goods supersector, although August’s monthly production was upgraded modestly to a 0.63 percent decline in real terms, real output decreased by another 0.89 percent – its worst such figure since winter-affected January, 2014’s 1.20 percent.

>Despite the fractional inflation-adjusted September production uptick in manufacturing overall, , and August’s upward revision from a 0.26 percent sequential decline to 0.20 percent, July’s results were changed from a 0.04 percent rise to a 0.35 percent drop – big enough to turn overall revisions negative.

>Nonetheless, the automotive sector produced some good news.

>It’s true that July real output for this industry, which has led manufacturing’s bounceback during most of the current economic recovery, was revised down from a 4.16 percent drop to 4.85 percent – its worst since winter-affected January, 2014’s 5.87 percent. But August’s month-on-month improvement – revised all the way up from 2.16 percent to 3.56 percent – was its best since June, 2016’s (3.89 percent).

>Moreover, although September’s sequential output rise was a mere 0.07 percent, it produced the first two-month stretch of automotive output improvements since the May-October stretch of 2016.

>As of September, however, domestic manufacturing still had not yet completed its recovery from the historic Great Recession. Real production was 4.26 percent lower than when that slump began, more than nine years ago, in December, 2007.