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The Federal Reserve’s new industrial production figures for October (released last Thursday) illustrated the perils of measuring economic performance month-by-month – especially where hurricanes and other individual shocks are concerned. For most of the industries hit hardest by the recent storms staged strong and even record sequential production bouncebacks in October.

At the same time, the data also make clear that the strong output momentum exhibited by America’s domestic manufacturing before the hurricanes continued even as they undercut sectors highly concentrated on the Texas and Louisiana Gulf coasts; and that this strength extended into October.

The month’s strong (1.29 percent) monthly inflation-adjusted production gain, combined with upward revisions, lifted manufacturing out of its latest output recession. And the October year-on-year in real output increase (2.73 percent) was industry’s best July, 2012’s three percent. The technical recession into which the automotive sector has fallen continued into its fifteenth month in October, but even here some good news emerged, as constant dollar output rose for the fourth straight month – the best such stretch since last May through October.

Overall, manufacturing’s strong recent after-inflation output performance has brought the sector to within 2.56 percent of the production levels it reached just before the last recession struck – nearly ten years ago, at the end of 2007.

Here are the manufacturing highlights of the Federal Reserve’s October industrial production report: 

>American domestic manufacturers overcame their hurricane-related losses and then some in October, according to new Federal Reserve industrial production data that show month-on-month real output gains and revisions strong enough to life the entire sector out of its latest technical recession.

>After-inflation production rose by 1.29 percent on month in October, the Fed reported – the best such improvement since April’s 1.37 percent.

>Positive revisions buoyed manufacturing as well. September’s constant dollar production – which was initially reported to have advanced by 0.10 percent sequentially despite the hurricanes – is now estimated as a 0.38 percent rise. August’s monthly real output decline was revised down again, from a 0.20 percent dip to 0.16 percent. And rather than decreasing by 0.35 percent in July, that month’s real manufacturing output is now judged to have flat-lined.

>Keying the October monthly real production surge in manufacturing were the sectors hit hardest by the recent hurricanes because they are heavily concentrated along the Texas and Louisiana coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, and especially because they rely on oil and natural gas as feedstocks.

>For example, price-adjusted production in organic chemicals cratered by a downwardly revised 14.92 percent on month in September. But in October, the sector’s after-inflation production skyrocketed by 28.05 percent – the biggest improvement on record (in this case, going back to 1986).

>Inflation-adjusted petroleum refinery output dropped sequentially in September by an upwardly revised 2.11 percent. October’s monthly 4.60 percent increase was the sector’s best since October, 2008’s 17.72 percent.

>In the huge chemicals sector in which many of these hurricane-impacted industries are located, constant dollar output in August and September is now reported to have dropped month-to-month by 2.57 percent and 2.22 percent – slightly better results that initially pegged, but still the worst since recessionary December, 2008’s 4.85 percent shrinkage. But October’s 5.82 percent sequential real production increase was its best monthly figure on record (in this case, going back to 1972).

>And in the non-durable goods sector in which chemicals are found, two sizable monthly production fall-offs in August and September were followed by a 2.33 percent sequential spurt in output in October – its best such performance since January, 1983.

>Nonetheless, some hurricane-affected sectors continued to lag. In plastics materials and resins, September real output tumbled by 8.16 percent sequentially – its worst month since recessionary December, 2008 (11.72 percent).

>In October, however, inflation-adjusted production slipped by another 4.65 percent sequentially, making for the worst two-month drop (12.43 percent) since November and December, 2008 (23.31 percent).

>In the automotive sector, a technical recession (more than two straight quarters of cumulative real output decline) continued into its fifteenth month in October. Since July, 2016, inflation-adjusted production is off by 0.23 percent.

>But the industry, which led manufacturing’s overall early recovery comeback from its sharp recessionary downturn, has shown some signs of life in recent months.

>The October Fed figures showed that its constant-dollar output is now up for three straight months. That kind of improvement hasn’t been seen since the May-October period of 2016.

>Further, revisions have been positive, including a September upgrade all the way from 0.07 percent to 1.69 percent.

>October’s Fed figures still left domestic manufacturing considerably smaller than at the onset of the Great Recession – which began in December, 2007. But the October monthly figures plus the revisions produced major catch-up. Last month’s Fed industrial production report showed that real manufacturing output remained 4.26 percent lower than when the last recession broke out. The October report shows the gap has narrowed to 2.56 percent.