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Economy in Brief

Texas Factory Sector Expansion Stays on Course
by Tom Moeller  May 30, 2017

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas indicated in its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey that the General Business Activity Index of 17.2 in May remained fairly steady with the prior two months, nearing the highest level of the economic expansion. The production reading approached a three-year high, and shipments growth jumped to a recovery high. New orders growth strengthened and employment growth held firm.

On the inflation front, the finished goods "prices received" indicator fell to its lowest point since last October, while the raw materials prices index also eased. Readings for both series remained well above the negative figures of 2015 and 2016. Current growth in current wages & salaries strengthened m/m to the highest level since December 2014.

The General Business Activity Index, Six Months Ahead, increased modestly following a sharp April decline. Expected employment rose to a record high but hours rose just modestly. Expected production, shipments and new orders increased. Future wages & benefits eased from the highest point since early-2014 reached last month.

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) May Apr Mar May'16 2016 2015 2014
Current General Business Activity Index 17.2 16.8 16.9 -19.8 -8.8 -12.5 8.4
   Production 23.3 15.4 18.6 -12.6 2.4 -1.0 14.5
   Growth Rate of Orders 12.3 5.1 3.2 -14.0 -7.3 -11.8 4.7
   Number of Employees 8.3 8.5 8.4 -4.2 -4.9 -0.4 11.5
   Prices Received for Finished Goods 5.9 12.0 7.5 -2.5 -1.6 -8.5 8.3
General Business Activity Index Expected in Six Months 31.6 27.1 36.3 -0.7 8.9 4.1 17.4
   Production 49.7 39.6 44.8 25.3 35.8 31.1 42.7
   Growth Rate of New Orders 36.4 30.9 38.3 10.4 24.3 20.7 31.5
   Wages & Benefits 42.7 45.6 45.0 31.5 34.8 33.2 43.1
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