Monday, October 31, 2011

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey shows sluggish expansion

by Bill McBride on 10/31/2011 10:30:00 AM

This is the last of the regional Fed surveys for October. The regional surveys provide a hint about the ISM manufacturing index - and the regional surveys were mixed and still weak in October, but improved from August and September.

Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Activity Expands

Texas factory activity increased in October, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, remained positive but edged down from 5.9 to 4.1, suggesting growth slowed slightly.

Other measures of current manufacturing conditions also indicated growth in October, and the pace of new orders increased. The shipments index fell from 9.4 to 2.7, suggesting shipment volumes continued to increase but at a slower pace. The capacity utilization index moved back into positive territory after being negative for two months. The new orders index suggested a pickup in demand, moving from 3.6 to 8.3. ...

Perceptions of general business conditions improved in October. The general business activity index jumped up from -14.4 to 2.3, its first positive reading in six months. The company outlook index also rose markedly, bouncing back to a reading of 7.2 after coming in near zero in September.

Labor market indicators reflected higher labor demand growth. The employment index came in at 15.1, up slightly from 13.4 in September.
Here is a graph comparing the regional Fed surveys and the ISM manufacturing index:

Fed Manufacturing Surveys and ISM PMI Click on graph for larger image.

The New York and Philly Fed surveys are averaged together (dashed green, through October), and five Fed surveys are averaged (blue, through October) including New York, Philly, Richmond, Dallas and Kansas City. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) PMI (red) is through September (right axis).

The ISM index for October will be released Tuesday, Nov 1st and this suggests another fairly weak reading in October. The consensus is for a slight increase to 52.0 from 51.6 in September.