I call industrial production the King of Coincident Indicators, because it speaks volumes about where the economy is at any particular moment, and empirically is the indicator whose peaks and troughs coincide most definitively with NBER recession dates.
In April the story told by industrial production continued to be very positive, as total production rose by 1.1%, and manufacturing production rose by 0.8%. The former made yet another new record high, while the latter has only been exceeded in a 12 month period from spring 2007 through winter 2008:
On a YoY basis, total production is up 6.4%, while manufacturing is up 6.0%. Compared with the last 40 years, and particularly the last 20, this is excellent growth:
Taken together, this morning’s economic reports show us a consumer who is still doing OK, and a production sector that also continues to perform well.