Green Shoots, Or At Least Green Lichens


Industrial production increased 0.5 percent between June and July, according to the Federal Reserve bank. This is the first month-to-month increase since October 2008, and only the second since December 2007 (the last good goddamn great good year, damnit). Industrial production was down 13.1 percent from its July 2008 level.

Most of the increase came from car and car parts manufacturing, which in turn got a bump from multiple forms of government support. The Fed estimates other manufacturing accounted for 0.2 percent of the increase. 

Capacity utilization (how much of the output of your existing plant, refinery, fishing boat, etc. you're getting) also increased, from 68.1 percent in June to 68.5 percent in July. Year to year, capacity use was down 0.3 percent.

The Fed elaborates:

In addition to the sharp increase in motor vehicles and parts output, large production gains occurred for nonmetallic mineral products and for primary metals. The indexes for wood products, computer and electronic products, aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment, furniture and related products, and miscellaneous goods also rose. The indexes for fabricated metal products, machinery, and electrical equipment declined.

The decline in nondurables contradicts at least two-thirds of the old saw that beer, ice cream and movies are recession proof:

The indexes for textile and product mills and for printing and support recorded sizable declines; the indexes for food, beverages, and tobacco and for petroleum and coal products also declined. The output of paper, of chemicals, and of plastic and rubber products increased.

Just when my affair with the recession was blooming from a just-for-laughs fling into fiery love…