Texas Factory Activity Slowed Sharply in November

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The growth of factory activity in Texas slowed sharply in November, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas showed Monday.

The production index of the Dallas Fed’s Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey fell to 7.2 in November, down from 25.5 in October. That indicates a deceleration in the growth of production at Texas manufacturing plants.

The index for general business activity fell to to 12.0 from 19.8 the previous month, signaling that overall activity in the manufacturing sector eased. Economists surveyed by Econoday had predicted a decline to 10.7.

This is the fifth of the regional Fed manufacturing survey’s released in November. Similar surveys from the New York Fed, the Philadelphia Fed, the Kansas City Fed, and the Richmond Fed all showed the same pattern of growth continuing but at a slower pace.

In the surveys, researchers at regional Fed banks ask executives about a range of conditions in the industrial sector. These include output, incoming product orders, employment, and general business conditions. They also ask executives about what they expect for the near-term future.

The new orders index fell in November, and the growth rate of orders declined. The capacity utilization index fell sharply. Shipments also declined.

One bright spot was employment, which saw its index climb a bit, indicting a small expansion in employment. In November, 25 percent of firms noted net hiring and 13 percent noted net layoffs.

Expectations regarding future business conditions remained positive in November, though several key components showed a decline. The outlook for general business activity fell as did the production index and the expected growth rate for new orders.

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