No. 932: December Industrial Production and Housing Starts

(SGS Subscription required) • Hurricane Distortions to Economic Reporting Start to Unwind
• Two-Thirds of the 0.9% Monthly Jump in December 2017 Industrial Production Reflected Unseasonably-Bad Weather Boosting Utility Usage
• Full-Year 2017 Production Rose by 1.95%, Following Full-Year Annual Declines of 1.22% (-1.22%) in 2016 and 0.71% (-0.71%) in 2015
• Big Swings in Mining Activity (Oil Production) Drove Those Full-Year Changes, versus Annual Stagnation in Utilities and in the Much-Larger Manufacturing Sector, Despite a Late-2017 Manufacturing Surge for Hurricane-Damaged-Vehicle Replacement
• Fourth Quarter Industrial Production Regained Its Pre-Recession Peak for a Second Time • Dominant Manufacturing Sector Held Shy of Its Pre-Recession Peak by 4.54% (-4.54%), Just Having Passed a Full 10 Years, 120 Months or 40 Quarters of Continuous Non-Expansion; Longest Period of Non-Expansion in the 100-Year History of the Production Series
• In Ongoing Extreme, Monthly Volatility, December Housing Starts Plunged by 8.2% (-8.2%), Reflecting Some Negative Catch Up, as Hurricane-Distorted Boosts Began to Unwind • New Residential Construction Remained in Low-Level, Downtrending Stagnation, with Building Permits Shy by 42.5% (-42.5%), Housing Starts Shy by 47.6% (-47.6%) and Single-Unit Starts Shy by 54.1% (-54.1%) of Recovering Pre-Great Recession Peak Activity
• Multiple-Unit Starts Recovered in 2015, but Have Fallen Back Since by 20.9% (-20.9%) from Their Pre-Recession High

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