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posted on 27 April 2015

April 2015 Texas Manufacturing Survey Manufacturing Activity Weakens Again

Of the four Federal Reserve districts which have released their April manufacturing surveys - one forecasts weak growth and three are in contraction. A complete summary follows.

From the Dallas Fed:

Texas factory activity declined in April, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, posted a second negative reading in a row, coming in at -4.7.

Other measures of current manufacturing activity also reflected continued contraction in April. The new orders index edged up but remained negative at -14. The growth rate of orders index held steady at -15.5, posting its sixth consecutive negative reading. The capacity utilization index pushed further negative to -10.4, its lowest level since August 2009, and the shipments index edged up but stayed below zero at -5.6.

Perceptions of broader business conditions remained quite pessimistic for a fourth month in a row. The general business activity index stayed negative but ticked up to -16 in April, while the company outlook index moved down to -7.8, reaching its lowest reading in nearly two and a half years.

Labor market indicators reflected slight employment gains but shorter workweeks. The April employment index rebounded to 1.8 after dipping below zero last month. Nineteen percent of firms reported net hiring, compared with 17 percent reporting net layoffs. The hours worked index stayed at -5 in April, suggesting a fourth month in a row of slightly shorter workweeks.

Downward pressure on prices remained in April, while wages continued to rise. The raw materials prices index edged down to -11.2, and the finished goods prices index edged up to -7.7. The negative April readings for these indexes mark a fourth consecutive month of lower input costs and selling prices. Meanwhile, the wages and benefits index remained positive and held fairly steady at 16.5.

Measures of future business conditions weakened in April. The index of future general business activity fell 9 points to -5.9,while the index of future company outlook declined from 12.8 to 5.3. Indexes for future manufacturing activity also moved down but remained in solid positive territory.

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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