Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Recession Watch: Industrial production up in March but still modestly below January peak

Industrial production, one of the five primary economic indicators that the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee uses to judge recession start and end dates, rose modestly in March, but erased less than half of the February decline off the January peak. In fact, industrial production is now slightly below its level in November and even September. Clearly industrial production is "faltering", but the absolute level of decline from the January peak is still only a relatively modest decline and only two months from the peak, which would not seem to meet the NBER BCDC threshold for a "significant decline."

In short, industrial production still strongly suggests that we are at the edge of a recession, but certainly not yet in the middle of a full-blown recession. The strongest statement I can make about industrial production is that is is roughly flat since the Summer.

-- Jack Krupansky

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