The Federal Reserve’s Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization report is like a report card for the U.S. manufacturing industry. The most recent report shows that manufacturing production fell nationally in March by 6.3%.
That’s the worst drop since 1946.
That year, the government held a conference on productivity to tackle some difficult questions that had come up. World War II had just ended. Wartime productivity had gone way up… or not, if you were a manufacturer who had had to shut down to accommodate war production. Workers back from the military were asking for higher wages in response to their increased productivity, and being told that their productivity was actually falling.
After all, the number of cars produced and sold was way down. However, Technological improvements during wartime had increased productivity and diverted it toward wartime production.
The controversy brought about a standard method of determining the productivity rate for manufacturing.
The drop in productivity last month is no mystery. Factories across the nation shut down, so overall production plummeted.
Consumer demand is part of the equation, too. Consumer demand for cars fell by 27% and carmakers shut down or shifted to ventilator production. That’s the equivalent of war production.
Airplanes and other vehicles are also not being produced right now, and business equipment also saw serious slowdowns. Food, beverage, and tobacco are doing better. They saw a drop in production of just 2%.
Economists expect numbers to be worse in April.
Do you have Rexroth electric drive and control systems in your factory? If you’re shut down, this could be the perfect time to arrange for reman of your systems. Whether you have legacy Indramat systems or more recent Rexroth components, your units will come back from reman with all new wearing parts and a new warranty.
Take care of it now and avoid downtime after your workers get back to work.