American manufacturers of computers and related equipment continue producing wares at a lackluster pace. Factories producing computers worked at 76.6% of capacity in November, a mere 0.6% higher than October, the Federal Reserve Board reports. Those rates pale compared with the mid-1990s, when capacity-utilization rates averaged 86%.
Industrial production numbers weren't impressive either, rising 0.7% from October. "The goods industry is beginning to turn upwards again after suffering a setback in the prior two months," says Daniel Meckstroth, chief economist with Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, "but production is still 5.6% below the June 2000 pre-recession peak."