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posted on 28 December 2015

December 2015 Texas Manufacturing Survey Manufacturing Activity Improves Again.

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

There were no market expections (from Bloomberg) for the manufacturing index. From the Dallas Fed:

Texas factory activity increased for a third month in a row in December, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose from 5.2 to 13.4, indicating stronger growth in output.

Some other indexes of current manufacturing activity also reflected growth in December, but the survey's demand measures showed continued weakness. New orders, an indicator of incoming demand, declined at a faster pace. The index has been below zero for five months and fell to -8.9 in December. The growth rate of orders index has been negative for more than a year and dipped 7 points to -14.3 this month. Meanwhile, the capacity utilization and shipments indexes posted their fourth positive readings in a row and inched up to 7.8 and 7.6, respectively.

Perceptions of broader business conditions weakened markedly in December. The general business activity index has been negative throughout 2015 and plunged to -20.1 this month. After pushing just above zero last month, the company outlookindex fell 10 points in December to -9.7, its lowest level since August.

Labor market indicators reflected a notable rise in December. The employment index inched up further to 12.8; 26 percent of firms noted net hiring, while 14 percent noted net layoffs. The hours worked index suggested longer workweeks and rose to 15.2, its highest level since May 2010.

The survey's price measures pushed further negative in December. The raw materials prices index declined to -8.6,suggesting a slightly steeper drop in input costs than last month. The finished goods prices index was negative all year and moved down to -15.9. Meanwhile, the wages and benefits index moved up to 20.4, indicating stronger wage growth.

Expectations regarding future business conditions were mixed in December. The index of future general business activityfell 9 points to -1.4, while the index measuring future company outlook fell but remained positive at 6.6. Indexes for future manufacturing activity declined but remained strongly positive.

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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