U.S. Industrial Production Falls in March

U.S. industrial production fell sharply in March as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted supply chains and knocked down demand for an array of goods and services.
Industrial production, a measure of factory, mining and utility output, decreased a seasonally adjusted 5.4% in March from the prior month, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected a 3.5% drop.
Here are takeaways from the report:
–Manufacturing output, the biggest component of industrial production, decreased 6.3% in March from the prior month.
–Excluding motor vehicles and parts, industrial production fell 4.5% last month.
–Mining production decreased 2%. The oil and gas industry has been hit by falling prices alongside falling demand as stay-at-home orders lead Americans to drive less.
–Utilities output dropped 3.9%.
–Capacity utilization, which reflects how much industries are producing compared to what they could potentially produce, decreased by 4.3 percentage point to 72.7% in March. Economists had expected a reading of 73.7%.
–February’s industrial production was revised down to a 0.5% increase, compared with an earlier estimate of a 0.6% rise.
Write to Jeffrey Sparshott at jeffrey.sparshott@wsj.com and David Harrison at