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Newspapers are still more important than cheese

Relative importance weights of the components of industrial production: Part 1

Many sectors of the economy, with their specific products and processes, contribute to the nation’s overall industrial production. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System provides data on these components in their G.17 Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization release. As they state, these values are “estimates of the industries’ relative contributions to overall growth.” The graph above covers four specific components on the smaller end of the scale: newspaper publishing, cheese, tobacco, and fruit and vegetable processing. (FRED offers 322 series in this category.) Again, to be clear, these data measure the raw volume of goods that contribute to industrial production—not to health, wealth, or quality of life.

Over the past 45 years, the contributions of these components have changed—drastically, in some cases. From the late 1970s through the late 1980s, for example, newspaper publishing enjoyed prominence at the top of this list. But its contribution to this index has never been lower than it is today. Tobacco’s contribution surged to the top in the early 1990s and again in the early 2000s and is now neck and neck with fruits and vegetables. Cheese continues its quiet but rock-steady course at the bottom of this list.

How this graph was created: Search for “Relative Importance Weights”: As noted above, you’ll find 322 series to choose from. Check the measures you want and click “Add to Graph.”

Suggested by George Fortier.

View on FRED, series used in this post: RIWG3114S, RIWG3122S, RIWG51111S, RIWN311513S

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