Did you know? Industrial production can be used to help identify freight activity within manufacturing.
What is it?
Industrial Production Index (IPRO) – The Federal Reserve releases a monthly index that covers the industrial sectors of manufacturing, mining and utilities. The industrial segment accounts for a significant portion of national output and feeds into freight movements, particularly, flatbed trailers.
The Industrial Production Index is built from 299 separate series. The series are broken out in market groups and industry groups. The market groups are structured around products and materials. Industry groups aggregate market groups into separate industries such as durable goods manufacturing, nondurable goods manufacturing, mining and utilities.
Who needs it?
Analysts: Analysts can use this data to track movements within the macroeconomy. One month’s movements aren’t necessarily indicative of an overall trend, but pairing the data sets with internal trends and SONAR data allows analysts to determine how a particular segment impacts their business and where they fit in the business cycle.
Carriers: Carriers can use the Industrial Production Index to dissect trends within the separate market groups in order to target verticals that are experiencing robust growth.
Brokers: Brokers usually thrive in times of volatility. There are volatile segments within the industrial production breakouts. Brokers can observe trends within these segments that operate within defense spending and around aircraft components. These segments usually have sporadic and large swings.
Shippers: Shippers can use this data to help benchmark their output within their particular segment. This can help plan and adjust production and shipment expectations.
What can I do with it?
This is a large data set that is granular but the release isn’t exactly timely. There are a couple steps that can be taken to help digest the data and to make decisions on a more near real-time basis.
The first is changing the way you view the data. Though the IPRO.USA ticker is useful for an overview, consider using the IPROG.USA ticker to start visualizing the data on a year-over-year basis. Business cycle trends will start to emerge here.
The next step is breaking out the vertical that you are interested in. For example, IPROG.MACH (Year-over-year Industrial Production for Machinery).
Finally, the most significant piece is pairing these large, monthly data sets with the proprietary tender rejection data sets found in SONAR. For this example, we’ll use the Flatbed Outbound Tender Rejection Index, FOTRI.USA). Using the two together allows users to see what’s happening on a near real-time basis, instead of waiting for the monthly releases after it’s too late. The large Industrial Production Index data sets help identify potential long-term trends and help confirm historical activity, but using the daily updated tender rejection data allows you to see what capacity is for the equipment types. This data gives a current view as to the state of the manufacturing environment. Construction materials also play a role here but we’ll save that for another release!
Show me how!
1) Click the large Plus sign in the top right corner of a custom page.
2) Select the chart option from the drop-down menu.
3) Type IPROG.USA into the search “Enter Symbol” field.
4) Select the “+ Compare” button under the main symbol title and enter FOTRI.USA into the search field.
5) Select the Display drop-down menu and select Dual under Y Axis Style for easier comparison between the two indices.
Pro Tip: Turn on large fonts in the display settings under Chart Preferences for viewing ease.
If you have questions about outbound tender volumes, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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