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Economy in Brief

Dallas Fed Factory Sector Activity Deteriorates Along With Outlook
by Tom Moeller  August 31, 2015

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported that its August Composite index of factory sector activity declined to -15.8, its weakest reading in three months. The production component was near break-even, up sharply from three months ago. The growth rate of new orders, however, reversed most of its July improvement. The employment reading remained slightly negative, where it's averaged since the beginning of the year. During the last ten years there has been a 78% correlation between the index and the m/m change in factory sector payrolls. Wages & benefits rose to the highest level since January but prices received declined sharply to the lowest point since 2009.

The six-months ahead reading for factory sector activity reversed three months of improvement as the production outlook fell to a six-month low. The expected new orders growth rate similarly deteriorated along with shipments. The expected employment reading retrenched as wage & benefit expectations remained near the expansion low.

The diffusion indexes are calculated as the percentage of total respondents reporting increases minus the percentage reporting declines. Firms are asked whether output, employment, orders, prices and other indicators increased, decreased or remained unchanged over the previous month. The data can be found in Haver's SURVEYS database.

Dallas Federal Reserve Manufacturing Survey (SA, Percent Balance) Aug Jul Jun Aug '14 2014 2013 2012
General Business Activity Versus One Month Ago -15.8 -4.6 -7.0 7.1 8.3 2.2 -0.6
   Production -0.8 -1.9 -6.5 7.4 14.6 9.8 8.7
   Growth Rate of New Orders -14.0 -5.2 -16.5 -7.6 4.7 0.1 -2.8
   Number of Employees -1.4 -3.3 -1.2 12.0 11.5 5.6 11.8
   Prices Received for Finished Goods -15.7 -2.9 -1.9 9.4 8.3 2.9 0.9
Business Activity in Six Months 3.4 18.8 8.1 19.0 17.4 11.0 7.6
   Production 28.0 37.4 35.2 44.3 42.7 37.1 32.4
   Future New Orders Growth Rate 18.6 29.7 21.1 29.8 31.5 25.0 19.5
   Number of Employees 11.4 17.4 16.9 28.7 28.6 23.1 19.1
   Wages & Benefits 32.4 31.2 31.0 42.8 43.0 38.2 34.2
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