As we predicted, US Industrial Production stayed essentially flat for the second month in a row, rising 0.1% over April.

Despite continued impact of the Japan disaster on the auto industry, the manufacturing sector was up 0.4% over April. It appears that vehicle manufacturing had less of an impact in May, as manufacturing was up 0.6% if you exclude auto production.

Another trucking-focused piece of the puzzle, consumer goods, was down a negligible 0.1% in May. The minor drop in durable goods for April was basically canceled out in May. Home electronics were up 1.7%, appliances, furniture, and carpeting was up 1.8%, and miscellaneous durables was up 0.7%

Bottom line? The growth of the industrial economy has slowed in the past two months, but the data isn’t yet showing much reason for concern. As the auto industry ramps back up in the next few months, look for a more meaningful uptick in the manufacturing sector. And barring any unlikely increase in gas prices, consumers should keep the durables sector going.

We’ll have a more complete picture of how trucking fared in May when the ATA releases its tonnage report this week.