WASHINGTON: American industry suffered the most severe plunge on record last month with factories, mines and utilities battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Federal Reserve said yesterday that its industrial production index tumbled a record 11.2 per cent in April. Manufacturing output also posted a record drop – 13.7pc – as production of cars, trucks and auto parts plummeted more than 70pc. Production of aerospace and other transportation products, metals and furniture fell around 20pc. Output dropped 6.1pc at mines and 0.9pc at utilities.
Industry was running at 64.9pc of capacity last month, shattering the previous record low set in the Great Recession year 2009. Factory capacity utilization also hit a record low 61.1pc.
Manufacturing may get a boost over the coming week as car plants begin to reopen.
The lockdowns and travel restrictions have brought economic activity to a near-standstill.
US gross domestic product – the broadest measure of economic output – is expected to crater at a 40pc annual rate from April-June, biggest drop in records dating back to 1947.