Texas Manufacturing Activity Expands Slightly as General Business Conditions Worsen: Dallas Fed

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Texas factory activity expanded slightly in March after shrinking in February, a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said Monday.

The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, moved up from -2.8 to 2.5. The Dallas Fed said this indicates a modest increase in factory output.

Other measures were mixed. Perceptions of broader business conditions continued to worsen in March, with the general business activity index falling two points to -15.7. Economists had forecast an improvement in this metric to -11.3.

The company outlook index remained negative but rose four points to -13.3.

The new orders index was negative for the 10th consecutive month and inched down to -14.3 from -13.2 in the prior month. The capacity utilization index returned to positive territory, moving up six points to 2.3, while the shipments index pushed down from -5.0 to -10.5.

There was some relief in the pricing measures. The index for prices paid for raw materials retreated to 20.3 from 25.1. The index for prices received for finished goods declined to seven from 15.8. Both were below their long-term averages.

The employment data was mixed. The barometer of payrolls returned to positive territory, rising to 10 from -1. The index of hours worked declined to 2.6 from 4.9. The index of wages of benefits dipped to 30.5 from 32.7 but remained substantially above the long-term average, indicating wages pressures remain very elevated.

The forward-looking indicators, which ask about expectations for conditions six months into the future, were also mixed. The future production index remained positive but fell eight points to 13.5, signaling well-below-average output growth is expected over the next six months. The future general business activity index pushed further negative, from -2.9 to -11.2. Expectations for prices of raw materials were unchanged and expectations for prices received declined.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.