Research >> Economics
Texas Manufacturing Activity Rebounds
Texas factory activity expanded slightly in March, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rebounded to positive territory this month—coming in at 3.3—after two months of negative readings.
Other indexes of current manufacturing activity also rose this month, although some remained in contractionary territory. The new orders index jumped 13 points but was still negative at -4.8, suggesting demand continued to fall but at a slower pace than last month. The growth rate of orders index has been negative since October 2014, although it did rise in March, to -11.7. The capacity utilization index bounced back to positive territory after negative readings so far this year, coming in at 3.3. Shipment volumes were largely unchanged this month as the shipments index remained near zero.
Perceptions of broader business conditions remained negative but showed signs of slight stabilization in March. The general business activity index jumped 18 points but remained negative for a 15th month, posting a reading of -13.6. The company outlook index posted a fourth negative reading in a row but edged up to -11.0.
Labor market indicators reflected continued decline in March. The employment index was largely unchanged at -10.3, with 12 percent of firms noting net hiring and 22 percent noting net layoffs. The hours worked index remained negative for a third month in a row but edged up to -5.6.
Price pressures were mixed and wages continued to rise. Abatement in downward pressure on input costs was seen in March, as the raw materials prices index moved up to zero. The finished goods prices index has been negative for more than a year and edged up to -8.2 this month. Meanwhile, the wages and benefits index stayed positive and rose from 12.3 to 14.7, suggesting a slightly accelerated rise in compensation.
Expectations regarding future business conditions improved in March. The index of future general business activity came in at 6.1, its first positive reading in four months. The index for future company outlook posted a second positive reading, at 11.6. Indexes for future manufacturing activity remained in solid positive territory.
Posted: March 28, 2016 Monday 10:30 AM