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Domestic U.S. manufacturing grew on month in April in real terms for the third straight month, according to the Federal Reserve’s new industrial production figures. Moreover, April’s 0.47 percent sequential after-inflation production increase was the best such result since October’s 1.31 percent – which was boosted by a bounce-back effect from last fall’s hurricanes. Monthly constant dollar output gains were recorded for both durable goods (0.42 percent) and non-durable goods (0.52 percent).

Yet moderately negative revisions generated an annual April real growth rate for overall manufacturing (2.01 percent) that was the lowest since January’s 0.99 percent, and slightly more sluggish than the previous April-to-April’s 2.18 percent. Adjusted for inflation, domestic U.S. manufacturing output remains 3.31 percent smaller than at its peak before the last recession began – more than ten years ago.

Here are the manufacturing highlights of the Federal Reserve’s release today on April industrial production:

>The new April Federal Reserve industrial production figures showed mixed results for domestic manufacturing, with inflation-adjusted output expanding sequentially for the third straight months, but annual real growth showing some signs of slowing.

>Industry’s constant dollar output improved on month by 0.47 percent in April – the best such performance since a hurricane bounce-back effect helped spur a 1.31 percent sequential spurt last October.

>April’s real monthly production improvement was broad-based, including both the durable goods (0.42 percent) and non-durable goods (0.52 percent) super-sectors.

>Yet the latest revisions were moderately negative. March’s meager 0.07 percent monthly output rise was downgraded to 0.02 percent, February’s 1.51 percent jump is now judged to have been 1.40 percent, and January’s 0.37 percent sequential drop is now reported as a 0.59 percent decrease.

>Largely as a result, April’s year-on-year real manufacturing production increase was only 2.01 percent – the lowest since January’s 0.99 percent.

>Between the previous Aprils, constant dollar manufacturing output expanded by 2.18 percent.

>In addition, the new Fed figures reveal that, in price-adjusted terms, domestic manufacturing is still 3.31 percent smaller than at its pre-recession peak at the end of 2007 – more than ten years ago.

>More encouragingly, April’s monthly manufacturing production improvement was broad-based.

>For durable goods, the larger of manufacturing’s two super-sectors, real output advanced by 0.42 percent sequentially in April.

>Nonetheless, revisions were negative as well, with March’s previously reported 0.39 percent increase downgraded to 0.17 percent, February’s 1.84 percent increase to 1.59 percent, and January’s 0.25 percent dip to a 0.40 percent decrease.

>Durable goods’ year-on-year results were no better. April’s 1.94 percent annual production increase was the lowest inflation-adjusted figure since January’s 0.74 percent. It was also significantly worse than the 2.77 percent figure recorded between the previous Aprils.

>Durable goods real production is now 0.78 percent above the level it hit at the outset of the last recession, at the end of 2007. It rose slightly the following month, and is now 0.75 percent above that January, 2008 levels.

>Non-durable goods have turned in a somewhat better recent performance.

>In April, their price-adjusted output rose by 0.52 percent on month.

>Moreover, March’s previously reported 0.27 percent sequential real production decrease was revised up to a 0.13 percent decline, and February’s 1.16 percent increase was revised up to 1.20 percent. Only January’s results were downgraded – from a 0.50 percent monthly decrease to a 0.79 percent drop.

>On an annual basis, non-durables after-inflation output rose by 2.10 percent in April – a decided improvement from the 1.54 percent increase between the previous Aprils.

>Further, although the latest year-on-year non-durables’ real output increase is also the lowest since January’s (1.26 percent), the deceleration has been smaller than that in durable goods.

>Nonetheless, constant dollar non-durables output is now fully 8.13 percent below its pre-recession peak – hit in July, 2007.

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