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posted on 31 August 2015

August 2015 Texas Manufacturing Survey Manufacturing Activity Continues to Contract for Sixth Month

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

There market expections (from Bloomberg) were -8.0 to 0.5 (consensus 2.5) versus -0.8 actual. From the Dallas Fed:

Texas factory activity was essentially flat in August, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, climbed to near zero (-0.8), suggesting output held steady after five months of declines.

Other measures of current manufacturing activity showed mixed movements in August. The capacity utilization index, like the production index, rose to zero after several months in negative territory. The shipments index also edged up, coming in at -3. Sharp declines were seen in measures of demand, however. The new orders index plunged 13 points to -12.5 after rebounding to positive territory last month, and the growth rate of orders index fell from -5.2 to -14.

Perceptions of broader business deteriorated markedly in August. The general business activity index dropped 11 points from -4.6 to -15.8, and the company outlook index also posted a double-digit decline, coming in at -10.3.

Labor market indicators reflected slight employment declines and stable workweek length. The August employment index was negative for a fourth month in a row but edged up to -1.4. Fifteen percent of firms reported net hiring, compared with 16 percent reporting net layoffs. The hours worked index rose from -6.3 to 0.6, with the near-zero reading suggesting no change in workweek length from July.

There was notable downward pressure on prices in August, while upward wage pressure persisted. The raw materials prices index fell to -8 after a zero reading last month and a positive reading in June. The finished goods prices index declined 13 points to -15.7, hitting its lowest level since October 2009, when Texas was working its way out of the latest recession. Meanwhile, the wages and benefits index remained positive and rose slightly to 18.2.

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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