Research >> Economics
Texas Manufacturing Activity Stabilizes in August
Texas factory activity held steady in July, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, came in near zero after two months of negative readings, suggesting output stopped falling this month.
Some other measures of current manufacturing activity also reflected stabilization, and demand declines abated somewhat. The capacity utilization and shipments indexes posted near-zero readings, up from negative territory in May and June. The new orders index rose six points to –8.0, while the growth rate of orders index rose nine points to –9.7.
Perceptions of broader business conditions were notably less pessimistic. While the general business activity index remained negative for a nineteenth month in a row, it jumped 17 points to –1.3 in July. The company outlook index also remained negative but rose, climbing from –11 to –2.3.
Labor market measures indicated slight employment declines and stable workweek length. The employment index came in at –2.6, up from a post-recession low of –11.5 last month. Fourteen percent of firms noted net hiring, while 17 percent noted net layoffs. The hours worked index pushed up to near zero in July—which suggests no change in workweek length—after a reading of –12.8 in June.
Price pressures were mixed, and wages continued to rise. Input costs rose for a fourth month in a row, with the raw materials prices index staying positive but moving down to 7.6. Selling prices continued to decline, as the finished goods prices index held steady at –5.7. Meanwhile, the wages and benefits index suggested a slower rise in compensation, posting a double-digit decline to a reading of 10.5 in July. More than 85 percent of manufacturers noted no change in compensation costs this month.
Expectations regarding future business conditions improved again in July. The index of future general business activity posted a second positive reading in a row and rose 16 points to 18.4. The index of future company outlook also rose markedly, coming in at 22.8. Other indexes for future manufacturing activity also made double-digit gains in July, pushing further into positive territory.
Posted: August 29, 2016 Monday 10:30 AM