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posted on 26 March 2015

Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Contracting in March 2015

Of the four regional manufacturing surveys released to date for March, two show weak manufacturing growth while two are in contraction.

The market was expecting a range between -2 to +1 (consensus 0) versus the actual at -4.


The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City released the March Manufacturing Survey today. According to Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the survey revealed that Tenth District manufacturing activity declined in March, and producers' expectations moderated somewhat but remained slightly positive.

"We saw our first monthly decline in regional factory activity in over a year", said Wilkerson. "Some firms blamed the West Coast port disruptions, while producers of oil and gas-related equipment blamed low oil prices."


Tenth District manufacturing activity declined in March, and producers' expectations moderated somewhat but remained slightly positive. Most price indexes continued to decrease, with several reaching their lowest level since 2009. In a special question about the West Coast port disruptions, 32 percent of firms said it had affected them negatively.

The month-over-month composite index was -4 in March, down from 1 in February and 3 in January (Tables 1 & 2, Chart). The composite index is an average of the production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time, and raw materials inventory indexes. The overall slower growth was mostly attributable to declines in plastics, food, and chemical production and continued weakness in metals and machinery. Looking across District states, the largest decline was in Oklahoma, with moderate slowdowns in Kansas and Nebraska. Other month-over-month indexes decreased from the previous month. The production and shipments indexes fell after rising last month, and the new orders and order backlog indexes dropped to their lowest levels in over two years. In contrast, the employment and new orders for exports indexes inched higher but remained negative. The finished goods inventory index eased from 3 to -2, and the raw materials inventory index also moved into negative territory.

Year-over-year factory indexes also decreased. The composite year-over-year index declined from 9 to -2, and the production, shipments, new orders, and employment indexes also moved into negative territory. The capital expenditures index eased from 9 to 3, and the order backlog index decreased further. Both inventory indexes moderated somewhat.

Summary of all Federal Reserve Districts Manufacturing:

Richmond Fed (hyperlink to reports):

z richmond_man.PNG

Kansas Fed (hyperlink to reports):

z kansas_man.PNG

Dallas Fed (hyperlink to reports):

z dallas_man.PNG

Philly Fed (hyperlink to reports):

z philly fed1.PNG

New York Fed (hyperlink to reports):

z empire1.PNG

Federal Reserve Industrial Production - Actual Data (hyperlink to report):

Holding this and other survey's Econintersect follows accountable for their predictions, the following graph compares the hard data from Industrial Products manufacturing subindex (dark blue bar) and US Census manufacturing shipments (lighter blue bar) to the Dallas Fed survey (light blue bar).

Comparing Surveys to Hard Data:

z survey1.png

In the above graphic, hard data is the long bars, and surveys are the short bars. The arrows on the left side are the key to growth or contraction.

Steven Hansen

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