Production of motor vehicles, parts falls 4.7%

A 4.7% drop in the production of motor vehicles and parts, which more than reversed its November gain, contributed to a 0.2% decline in manufacturing output in December. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, manufacturing output rose 0.2%. Capacity utilization for total industry edged down to 75.4%, a level 0.8 percentage point above that of December 2001 but 6.1 percentage points below its 1972-2001 average.The output of consumer goods fell 0.6% in December. In the fourth quarter, consumer goods production declined at an annual rate of 2.8%. A 2.2% decline in the output of durables in December was largely due to a 4.3% drop in the output of automotive products.The index for appliances, furniture, and carpeting rose 0.9%, its fourth consecutive monthly increase. The output of nondurables edged down 0.1%. Among non-energy goods, declines in the production of foods and tobacco and of clothing outweighed gains in the output of chemical products and paper products. The index for energy products edged up 0.1%. Other major durable goods industries that registered declines in December included fabricated metal products, electrical equipment, nonmetallic mineral products, and wood products.Major durable goods industries that recorded gains in December included primary metal, machinery, computer and electronic products, aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment, and miscellaneous goods.

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