Economic News Blog
Posted by: Steven Kline, Jr. 18. September 2015

August Capacity Utilization Lowest of 2015

Durable goods capacity utilization was 75.8 percent in August 2015. This was the lowest capacity utilization rate since April 2014. The one-month rate of change, which was -0.5 percent in August, contracted for the third month in a row. The annual rate of change continued to grow, but the rate of growth decelerated for the fifth consecutive month. The annual rate of growth was its slowest since September 2014.  

Since June 2008, the Gardner Business Index backlog index has been a very good leading indicator of durable goods capacity utilization. The annual rate of change for our backlog index contracted in August for the fourth month in a row. The trend in the backlog index shows that capacity utilization will likely be contracting by the end of the year and well into 2016.

We use capacity utilization as a leading indicator for a number of industries, although it is not tracked for as many industries as industrial production. You can see the trends in capacity utilization for a number of industries below.

Accelerating Growth: aerospacefood/beverage processing

Decelerating Growth: automotiveconstruction materialscustom processorsdurable goodsforming/fabricating (non-auto)furnituremachinery/equipmentpetrochemical processors; plastics/rubber productsprintingtextiles/clothing/leather goodswood/paper

Accelerating Contraction: electronics/computers/telecommunicationsprimary metals

Decelerating Contraction: none

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