Friday, June 27, 2014

What's Behind the Rise in U.S. Industrial Production?

The domestic energy boom is behind the expansion of Industrial Production.

In contrast to other measures of economic activity that are stagnant or declining, U.S. industrial production has been rising: Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization (Federal Reserve data)


Is this evidence that manufacturing is on-shoring, i.e. returning from overseas? While there is anecdotal evidence for on-shoring, it appears that energy production (classified as part of mining in government statistics) is the big driver of rising industrial production.

Longtime correspondent B.C. submitted these two charts breaking down industrial production into mining, manufacturing and total production. While manufacturing has recently returned to pre-recession levels of late 2007, energy production (included in mining) has soared as the energy industry has put fracking and new wells into production. B.C. Commented: "The remarkable untold story: Ex mining and oil and gas extraction, US Industrial Production has been in contraction for most of the period since Peak Oil in 2005-08."



The red line is the ratio of total production to mining/energy. Its decline reflects the dominance of mining/energy in the rise of industrial production as a whole.

The second chart is percent change from a year ago. This shows the rate of manufacturing expansion has been declining since 2010 while mining/energy has been on a tear, spiking as high as 10% gains per year.



Here is a chart of the U.S. oil/gas rig count:



For context, here is a longer term look at the U.S. rig count. Note that the number of active rigs in the early 1980s was considerably higher than the present count.



For context, here is total U.S. energy consumption. The takeaway here is the reliance on oil, gas and coal, i.e. the fossil fuels:




One last bit of context: U.S. oil imports. While the increase of 3+ million barrels a day in domestic production is welcome on many fronts (more jobs, more money kept at home, reduced dependence on foreign suppliers, etc.), the U.S. still needs to import crude oil.


U.S. Imports by Country of Origin (U.S. Energy Information Administration)




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