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posted on 30 March 2015

March 2015 Texas Manufacturing Survey Rate of Growth Contracts

Of the five Federal Reserve districts which have released their March manufacturing surveys - two forecast weak growth and three are in contraction. A complete summary follows.

The market was expecting -12.0 to -8.0 (consensus -9.0) versus the actual of NEGATIVE 5.2. [note that values above zero represent expansion].

Texas factory activity declined in March, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, fell to -5.2, posting its first negative reading in nearly two years.

Other measures of current manufacturing activity also reflected contraction in March. The new orders index pushed further into negative territory, coming in at -16.1, and the growth rate of orders index remained negative for a fifth consecutive month but edged up to -15.3 in March. The shipments and capacity utilization indexes slipped to more negative readings, -8.7 and -6.4, respectively.

Perceptions of broader business conditions were rather pessimistic for a third month in a row. The general business activityindex declined 6 points to -17.4 in March, while the company outlook index was largely unchanged at -4.

Labor market indicators reflected slight employment declines and shorter workweeks. The March employment index dipped to -1.8, its first negative reading since May 2013. Thirteen percent of firms reported net hiring, compared with 14 percent reporting net layoffs. The hours worked index has been gradually declining for six months and came in at -5.3 in March, down from -1.6 in February.

Prices declined in March, and upward pressure on wages continued to ease slightly. The raw materials prices index fell to-9.4, its lowest reading since May 2009. The finished goods prices index pushed further negative to -9.8, also reaching a low not seen since 2009. The wages and benefits index came in at 15.6, down from 16.8 in February.

Expectations regarding future business conditions remained fairly weak in March. The index of future general business activity edged down to 3, while the index of future company outlook inched up to 12.8. Both indexes remain well below the levels seen throughout 2014. Indexes for future manufacturing activity, however, improved markedly in March. The indexes of future production, capacity utilization and growth rate of orders posted double-digit gains from their February readings.

Source: Dallas Fed

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.

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