PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Sluggish Industrial Production in October

By at 16 November, 2022, 9:43 pm

by Raymond J. Keating –

Industrial production is a valuable measure of the industrial sector of our economy. That’s especially the case during times of inflation, since industrial production is the physical output, free from price changes, of the manufacturing, mining and utility sectors of our economy.

In October, according to latest data from the Federal Reserve, industrial production declined by 0.1 percent. That included a 0.1 percent gain in manufacturing production, -0.4 percent in mining output, and -1.5 percent for utilities.

Over the past six months, industrial production has been sluggish. Other than strong growth in one month (July), the numbers have been unimpressive. In fact, industrial production declined in four of the past six months.

Looking at manufacturing, the largest chunk of industrial production, there were two months of declines, three months of sluggishness, and one month of solid growth (again, July).

These data on the industrial sector of our economy, along with other numbers and trends, simply add to the questions about the state of the economy.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

Let’s be clear. Emerging from a pandemic economy, the U.S. should be in the midst of a robust period of recovery and expansion. But that simply has not been the case.

Why?

Well, the primary culprit, as SBE Council has noted before, is policymaking – namely, higher taxes, hyper-regulation, protectionism, government spending claiming more and more resources, and unsound monetary policy. This agenda seemingly is designed to undermine entrepreneurship, investment, and economic, income and employment growth.

Indeed, one can argue that with exceptions here and there, policy has been pointed in an anti-growth direction since 2008, and hence, we see (the chart above) stagnation in the industrial sector over the past near 15 years.

When will federal elected officials wake up to economic realities?

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. His latest book is The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist.

 

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