Industrial Production Closes 2006 in Fine Form
During the first eight months of 2006, annualized growth rates for industrial production were, on average, quite strong. During that period, growth rates were never negative and reached annualized highs in excess of 11 percent. The general view was that in the latter part of the third quarter and the first part of the fourth, economic activity was beginning to soften; industrial production posted three consecutive months of negative growth. Many economic indicators subsequently have suggested that economic activity is firming; consistent with this view, industrial production ended the year on a strong note.
From the perspective of its recent history, industrial production showed strong growth in 2006, approaching its rates for 2000. Over the last three years, production of motor vehicles, as well as parts and energy-related goods, pulled down the overall index.