Growth Streak in Industrial Sector Continues

By at 17 February, 2021, 4:10 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

The Federal Reserve reported that industrial production extended its growth streak to four months in a row in January.

Specifically, overall industrial production – the actual output of the manufacturing, mining and utility sectors of our economy – grew in January by 0.9 percent. And manufacturing production, which accounts for the largest share of industrial output, also expanded for the fourth month in a row, registering growth of 1.0 percent in January.

For good measure, mining production was up by 2.3 percent, marking growth for the third consecutive month.

Of course, the industrial sector is still down compared to a year earlier before the pandemic hit. Total industrial production in January 2021 versus January 2020 was off by 1.8 percent, manufacturing production down by 1 percent, and mining down by 11.5 percent.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

The climb back from pandemic depths continues and has been noteworthy in overall industrial production, and in manufacturing. And keep in mind that this very much is a direct small business issue, as 74.8 percent of manufacturing employer firms, for example, have fewer than 50 employees, and 93.4 percent fewer than 100 workers.

But work remains to get back to where we were before COVID-19 hit, as well as to get on a true growth track that will break out beyond the pre-Great Recession levels.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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