Monday, February 29, 2016

Dallas Fed: "Texas Manufacturing Activity Contracts Again" in February

by Bill McBride on 2/29/2016 10:35:00 AM

From the Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Activity Contracts Again

Texas factory activity contracted again in February, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, remained negative but edged up from -10.2 to -8.5, suggesting output declined but at a slightly softer pace than in January.

Most other indexes of current manufacturing activity also indicated further contraction in February. The new orders index fell 8 points to -17.6, reaching its lowest level since May 2009, when Texas was in recession. The growth rate of orders index remained strongly negative at -17.4. The capacity utilization index was largely unchanged at -8.2. Meanwhile, the shipments index rose 10 points to -1.1 after plunging last month.

Perceptions of broader business conditions remained strongly negative in February. The general business activity index has been negative for more than a year and came in at -31.8, up slightly from the January reading. ...

Labor market indicators reflected further decline in February. The employment index dropped 7 points to -11.1, hitting its lowest reading since November 2009.
emphasis added
This was the last of the regional Fed surveys for February. All five of the regional surveys indicated contraction in Febuary, especially in the Dallas region (oil prices).

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 (yellow, through February), and five Fed surveys are averaged (blue, through February) including New York, Philly, Richmond, Dallas and Kansas City. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) PMI (red) is through January (right axis).

It seems likely the ISM index will be weak in February, and will probably show contraction again.  The consensus is the ISM index will increase to 48.5% from 48.2% in January (below 50 is contraction).