We've announced additional price increases that have or will be going into effect to recover this higher cost. Gross profit for the second quarter was $6.2 million or 11.9% of net sales compared with the gross loss of $21 million in the prior year. Gross profit for the prior year quarter includes the $16.1 million charge for inventory write-downs diluted to earlier.
Excluding these write-downs to prior year growth loss would have been $4.9 million. The year-over-year improvement in gross profit was driven by the lack of inventory write-downs in the current year period. The increase in shipments, wire spread between average selling prices and raw material costs and lower unit conversion costs.
Our overall capacity utilization remained at depressed levels for the quarter were showed some improvement increasing to 49% and 33% in the first quarter and 35% a year ago. As a result, total unit production for the quarter was up 39% from last year and 35.3% on a sequential basis from Q1, which translated into sizeable reductions in our unit conversion cost.
SG&A expense for the second quarter decreased $0.2 million from the prior year, primarily due to the relative changes in the cash surrender value of life insurance policies, which depreciated in value in the current year quarter of decreasing in the prior year. Our effective income tax rate for the quarter dropped to 17.8%, compared with 35.8% a year ago due to changes in the federal tax regulations regarding the carry back of net operating losses, which increased the amount of the tax refund that we received during the quarter relative to the prior year loss together with changes and permanent book versus tax differences.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com