United States - Capacity Utilization

United States: Capacity Utilization

Mnemonic CU.IUSA
Unit %, SA
Adjustments Seasonally Adjusted
Data Apr 2019 77.93
Mar 2019 78.46

Series Information

Source U.S. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB)
Release G.17 Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization
Frequency Monthly
Start Date 1/31/1967
End Date 4/30/2019

United States: Business

Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Business Confidence Apr 2019 100 100.21 Index long term avg=100, SA Monthly
Capacity Utilization Apr 2019 77.93 78.46 %, SA Monthly
Industrial Production Apr 2019 109.18 109.74 Index 2012=100, SA Monthly
Purchasing Managers index Apr 2019 52.8 55.3 Diffusion index, SA Monthly
Change in Inventories 2019 Q1 128,911 107,485 Mil. USD, SAAR Quarterly
Real Change in Inventories 2019 Q1 128,389 96,801 Mil. Ch. 2012 USD, SAAR Quarterly

Release Information

Reported in the FRB G.17 statistical release, industrial production index (IP) measures the change in real output in U.S. manufacturing, mining, and electric and gas utilities industries. Output refers to the physical quantity of items produced, as distinct from sales value, which combines quantity and price. The index covers the production of goods and power for domestic sales and exports. It excludes production in agriculture, communication, construction, finance, government, imports, services, trade and transportation.

The Federal Reserve Board constructs estimates of capacity and capacity utilization for industries in manufacturing, mining, and electric and gas utilities.  For a given industry, the capacity utilization rate is equal to an output index (seasonally adjusted) divided by a capacity index.  The Federal Reserve Board's capacity indexes attempt to capture the concept of sustainable maximum output – the greatest level of output a plant can maintain within the framework of a realistic work schedule, after factoring in normal downtime and assuming sufficient availability of inputs to operate the capital in place. 

Industries are classified by NAICS 2012.

The IP is developed by weighting each component according to its relative importance in the base period. The information for weights is obtained from the value added measures of production in the economic censuses of manufacturer and minerals industries and from value added information for the utility industries in Internal Revenue Service statistics of income data. The weights are updated at five-year intervals to coincide with the economic censuses.

Data are available for electric power use. Data on electric power are collected by the Federal Reserve District Banks from electric utilities and also from manufacturing and mining establishments that generate power for their own use. The indexes of power use are sums of kilowatt-hours used by an industry or industry group expressed as a percentage of that industry’s or industry group’s usage in 1987.

The monthly rates of capacity utilization are designed to be consistent with both the monthly data on production and the periodically available data on capacity and utilization. Because there is no direct monthly information on overall industrial capacity or utilization rates, the Federal Reserve first estimates annual capacity indexes from the source data. Capacity data reported in physical units from government sources (primarily from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration) and trade sources are available for portions of several industries in manufacturing (e.g., paper, industrial chemicals, petroleum refining, motor vehicles), as well as for electric utilities and mining; these industries represent about 25 percent of total industrial capacity. When physical product data are unavailable for manufacturing industries, capacity indexes are based on responses to the Bureau of the Census's Quarterly Survey of Plant Capacity (QSPC); these industries account for about 70 percent of total industry capacity. In the absence of utilization data for a few mining and petroleum series, capacity is based on trends through peaks in production (roughly 5 percent of total industry capacity).  

Capacity Indexes have a unit descriptor Index. The series are defined this way because actual IP output is defined as 2012=100 however the capacity series are indexed to 2012 but represent the max capacity of which could have been outputted at that time.

Initial monthly figures are revised in each of the subsequent three months. Annual revisions, released each spring, revise the previous two years of data. Benchmark revisions occur every five years.

The currency reference year for the gross value added measures is advanced in response to changes in NIPA.

"Capacity utilization for manufacturing," "factory operating rate," CUMANU.US, FRB DDP ID CAPUTL.B00004.S, UTLB00004