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Kansas City Fed Manufacturing activity increased


Growth in Tenth District manufacturing activity matched an all-time survey high in February, and firms expected strong activity in the months ahead. Prices for raw materials continued to rise, and more firms were raising finished goods prices.

The month-over-month composite index was 19 in February, up from 7 in January and 14 in December. This reading matched all-time survey highs reached several times from late 2003 to early 2005. The composite index is an average of the production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time, and raw materials inventory indexes. Growth in factory activity increased strongly at both durable and non-durable goods producing plants. Most other month-over-month indicators also improved markedly in February. The production index rose to 23, its highest level since early 2006, and the shipments, new orders, and order backlog indexes also increased. The employment index jumped from 8 to 23, a ten-year high, and the new orders for exports index also edged higher. Both inventory indexes fell slightly this month, but were still in positive territory.

Growth in year-over-year factory indexes generally increased from the previous survey. The composite year-over-year index eased slightly from 23 to 21, while the new orders, shipments, and order backlog indexes inched higher. The capital expenditures index rebounded after falling last month, and the new orders for exports index continued its upward climb. In contrast, the employment index inched slightly lower after recording a four-year high last month, and the order backlog index also eased somewhat. Both inventory indexes edged down.

Future factory indexes rose considerably in February. The future composite index climbed from 20 to 30, and the future production, shipments, new orders, and order backlog indexes also increased considerably. The future employment index recorded its highest level since mid-2006, and the future new orders for exports index jumped from 11 to 25. The future capital expenditures index rose from 17 to 23, a four-year high. The future finished goods inventory index increased from 2 to 5, while the future raw materials inventory index was relatively unchanged.

Price indexes generally increased, or remained elevated from last month’s record high. The month-over-month raw materials price index eased a bit, while the finished goods price index had a marked increase. The year-over-year raw materials price index increased from 73 to 80, and the finished goods price index also rose. The future raw materials price index edged higher, and the future finished goods price index jumped from 28 to 39, indicating a higher number of firms plan to pass recent cost increases through to customers.





Posted: February 24, 2011 Thursday 11:00 AM




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