One of today's headlines (December Industrial Production fell by 0.1%) misses the forest for the trees. The big story is that U.S. industrial and manufacturing production is leaving the rest of the world in the dust.
Nothing tells the story better than the chart above. U.S. industrial production (utilities, mining, and manufacturing) has surged while Eurozone industrial production has been stagnant at best. We've never seen anything like this before. Sure, U.S. industrial production fell a little in December—ups and downs from month to month are routine with this series—but it's up 4.9% in the past year.
It's no wonder that U.S. stocks have outperformed Eurozone stocks by over 50% in the past four years or so.
Abstracting from utilities (a warm December reduced utility output), manufacturing production rose 0.3% in December and is breaking new high ground.
Manufacturing production is up 4.9% in the past year. That's a lot more than the growth of the overall economy, which is likely to be just under 3%.
Business equipment production is charging ahead, up 7.5% in the past year!