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Economy in Brief

Dallas Fed Factory Sector Index Improves
by Tom Moeller  October 31, 2016

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported that its general activity index of factory sector activity in Texas remained slightly negative in October. The figure at -1.5, however, was improved versus the low of -34.6 in January. The production index declined to 6.7 following its September jump to 16.7. Hiring activity also eased. The employment index indicated little change in hiring activity after September's first positive reading since yearend 2015. Pricing power strengthened. The index of 1.2 for finished goods was the first positive reading since December 2014. The growth rate of new orders remained up from the expansion low in June.

Prospects for business activity eased with the reading for six months ahead falling to 4.8, its weakest value since June. The production reading improved slightly, however, to 33.0, its best level in three months. Optimism about the outlook for new orders also improved modestly. Continued caution showed up in employment prospects where the six-month ahead figure of 14.2 was at the lowest level since June. Expected wages & benefits recovered their September decline. Expectations for the length of the workweek deteriorated sharply to the lowest point since May.

The diffusion indexes are calculated as the percentage of total respondents reporting increases minus the percentage reporting declines. The data can be found in Haver's SURVEYS database.

Dallas Federal Reserve Texas Manufacturing Survey (SA, Percent Balance) Oct Sep Aug Oct '15 2015 2014 2013
General Business Activity Versus One Month Ago -1.5 -3.7 -6.2 -13.8 -12.5 8.3 2.2
   Production 6.7 16.7 4.5 3.5 -1.0 14.5 9.8
   Growth Rate of New Orders -5.1 -5.8 2.1 -7.0 -11.8 4.7 0.1
   Number of Employees 0.2 2.3 -5.0 -1.3 -0.4 11.5 5.7
   Prices Received for Finished Goods 1.2 -0.9 -1.3 -8.9 -8.5 8.3 2.9
Business Activity in Six Months 4.8 9.3 7.0 4.6 4.1 17.4 11.0
   Production 33.0 30.5 32.8 34.3 31.1 42.7 37.1
   Future New Orders Growth Rate 23.5 19.1 27.2 19.7 20.7 31.5 25.1
   Number of Employees 14.2 14.5 21.7 18.1 14.6 28.6 23.1
   Wages & Benefits 36.4 31.2 38.1 33.4 33.2 43.1 38.2
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