Makers of computers and office equipment experienced a 2.5% production gain in May, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Federal Reserve Board. Industrial production among computer makers has been rising at about 2% a month for the past year. Since May 2003, output among computer makers has climbed 27.2%. By comparison, overall industrial this past year has risen only 6.3%.
Capacity use at computer manufacturers also is on the rise. Factories producing computers and office equipment products operated at 78% of capacity in May, 0.6 percentage points higher than April. That level of factory use basically equals the sector's average of 78.1% over the past 30 years. It's been below that average in recent years. Still, capacity use among computer makers is well below levels of the mid-1990s, when businesses and consumers went on an IT buying binge and capacity use rates rocketed to 86.6%. Capacity utilization among all industries averaged 77.8% last month.