The Federal Reserve released a report on Friday showing a record drop in U.S. industrial production in the month of April, as the COVID-19 pandemic led many factories to slow or suspend operations throughout the month.
The report said industrial production plummeted by 11.2 percent in April after tumbling by a revised 4.5 percent in March.
Economists had expected production to plunge by 11.5 percent compared to the 5.4 percent nosedive originally reported for the previous month.
Andrew Hunter, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics, noted the steep drop was “sharper than at any point in the index’s 101-year history, including the Great Depression, the end of World War 2 and the Global Financial Crisis.”
“Output will rebound from May onwards, as factories begin to reopen, but the early signs are that the recovery is set to be gradual,” Hunter added.
Manufacturing output led the way lower, cratering by 13.7 in April amid a 70 percent collapse in the output of motor vehicles and parts.
Mining output also tumbled by 6.1 percent in April, while utilities output showed a relatively modest 0.9 percent decrease.
The report also said capacity utilization slumped to 64.9 percent in April from a revised 73.2 percent in March. Capacity utilization had been expected to plunge to 64.0 percent.
Capacity utilization in the manufacturing and mining sectors plummeted to 61.1 percent and 81.7 percent, respectively, while capacity utilization in the utilities sector dipped to 71.1 percent.