Feb 18, 2020 - Economy & Business

U.S. industrial production stalls out again

Data: Federal Reserve; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Federal Reserve; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. industrial production fell by 0.3% in January, month over month, and the previous month was revised down to -0.4%, according to the Federal Reserve.

By the numbers: The reading brings the annualized rate to -0.8% and is the fifth reading in a row below zero.

Why it matters: "The drop in factory output is particularly concerning as over the past 50 years, we've only seen one instance where IP slowed this much YoY without a commensurate recession," BMO Capital Markets rate strategist Jon Hill said in a Friday note to clients.

The big picture: Some of the weakness can be blamed on Boeing, which has all but shut down as its 737 MAX jet has been grounded worldwide after two plane crashes killed hundreds in 2018 and 2019.

  • The Fed's report showed industrial output was led lower by a 7.4% fall in aerospace production and a 0.1% decline in overall manufacturing output.
  • Utility production dropped 4%.
  • The numbers were also weakened by warmer weather, as electric and natural gas utilities fell 3.2% and 7.7%, respectively.

Go deeper: U.S. manufacturing activity hits worst level since 2009

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