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Texas Fed Manufacturing Activity increased at solid pace in March 2022
Texas factory activity continued to increase at solid pace in March, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, held mostly steady at 13.2, indicative of slightly above-average output growth.
Other measures of manufacturing activity showed mixed movements but remained positive, signaling continued expansion. The new orders index fell from 23.1 to 10.5, its lowest reading in over a year, while the growth rate of orders index held steady at 13.7. The capacity utilization index rose four points to 15.1, while the shipments index declined 17 points to 7.0.
Perceptions of broader business conditions also were a bit mixed in March. The general business activity index fell five points to 8.7, a reading still well above average. The company outlook index retreated to near zero, meaning firms were nearly evenly split on whether their outlooks improved versus worsened over the past month. The uncertainty index pushed up from 17.0 to 20.5.
Labor market measures indicated robust employment growth and longer workweeks. The employment index pushed up seven points to a highly elevated reading of 25.5. Thirty-two percent of firms noted net hiring, while 7 percent noted net layoffs. The hours worked index edged down to 15.4.
Prices and wages continued to increase strongly in March, with the indexes at or near historical highs. The raw materials prices index was largely unchanged at 74.0, and the finished goods prices index inched up to 47.8. The wages and benefits index shot up 11 points to a new high of 55.2.
Expectations regarding future manufacturing activity generally eased but remained positive. The future production index ticked down from 42.1 to 40.1, and the future general business activity index retreated 12 points to 8.2. Other measures of future manufacturing activity such as capital expenditures and employment showed mixed movements but remained solidly in positive territory.
Posted: March 28, 2022 Monday 10:30 AM