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Economy in Brief

Texas Factory Sector Activity Remains Strong
by Tom Moeller  March 27, 2017

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas indicated in its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey that the General Business Activity Index eased during March, but remained near the highest level of the economic expansion. The production reading improved as did the growth rate of new orders and delivery times (slower). The shipments reading eased. The employment figure fell m/m, but remained near the 2015 high. The wages & benefits series remained firm.

As for inflation, the finished goods prices paid indicator retreated following its February jump, while the raw materials prices index also eased.

The General Business Activity, Six Months Ahead Index held near its 12-year high. Expected production and new orders both declined, but shipments notched higher. Expected employment and hours worked both fell sharply, but wages & benefits held steady m/m, though the readings were up sharply versus 2015.

Each index is calculated by subtracting the percentage reporting a decrease from the percentage reporting an increase. When all firms report that activity has increased, an index will register 100. An index will register -100 when all firms report a decrease. An index will be zero when the number of firms reporting an increase or decrease is equal. Items may not add up to 100% because of rounding. Data for the Texas Manufacturing Outlook can be found in Haver's SURVEYS database.

Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey (SA, % Balance) Mar Feb Jan Mar'16 2016 2015 2014
Current General Business Activity Index 16.9 24.5 22.1 -12.7 -8.8 -12.5 8.4
   Production 18.6 16.7 11.9 3.2 2.4 -1.0 14.5
   Growth Rate of Orders 3.2 2.0 6.7 -11.5 -7.3 -11.8 4.7
   Number of Employees 8.4 9.6 6.1 -11.3 -4.9 -0.4 11.5
   Prices Received for Finished Goods 7.5 19.5 17.7 -8.0 -1.6 -8.5 8.3
General Business Activity Index Expected in Six Months 36.3 37.0 43.7 6.7 8.9 4.1 17.4
   Production 44.8 46.4 53.9 31.9 35.8 31.1 42.7
   Growth Rate of New Orders 38.3 39.9 48.4 17.3 24.3 20.7 31.5
   Wages & Benefits 45.0 45.0 42.5 34.7 34.8 33.2 43.1
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