The nation's industrial base improved somewhat in June, albeit just not as much as had been generally expected. To wit, overall output climbed 0.2% last month. In May, the increase had been 0.5%. Expectations for the latest month had been for an increase of 0.4%.
Breaking the report down, we find that manufacturing output (the largest category) rose by 0.1% in June. That, too, was less than forecast. Moreover, the token advance was also less than the gains of 0.4% in May and 0.3% in April.
As to the other two, and much smaller, components, mining production gained a formidable 0.8% in June, following three straight months in which the respective increases had been 2.0%, 2.0%, and 1.1%. Also, the third group, the utility sector, saw its output ease in June to a decline of 0.3%.
At the same time, utilization rates at the nation's factories held steady at 79.1% in June, which, albeit flat, still matched the best level reached thus far this year. Breaking that report down, we find that usage eased from 77.2% in May to 77.1% in June in the manufacturing sector, while use levels rose slightly in mining, but eased a tad in the utility component.
Finally, in the past year, overall industrial production rose by a solid 4.1%, while utilization rates rose by more than two-and-a-half percentage points at the nation's factories.
Taken as a whole, this was a slightly disappointing report, with its flat to just nominal aggregate improvement, but the ongoing strength is still reassuring and argues for a strong second half for the economy