Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Richmond and Dallas Fed: Manufacturing Expansion Solid in December

by Bill McBride on 12/26/2017 10:38:00 AM

From the Richmond Fed: Fifth District Manufacturing Firms Reported Moderate Growth in December

According to the latest survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Fifth District manufacturing firms saw moderate growth in December. The composite index moved down from its record high November reading of 30 to 20 but remained positive, indicating continued growth. The decrease in the composite index resulted from declines in the indexes for shipments and new orders; but the third component, employment, increased in December. Indicators of wages and inventories also rose.
emphasis added
From the Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Activity Shows Robust Growth
Texas factory activity expanded strongly in December, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, spiked 18 points to 32.8, reaching its highest level in more than 11 years.

Other measures of manufacturing activity also pointed to more rapid growth in December. The new orders index jumped 10 points to 30.1, another 11-year high, and the growth rate of orders index moved up to 21.4. The capacity utilization index increased nine points to 26.3, and the shipments index rose from 16.7 to 21.5 this month.

Perceptions of broader business conditions were markedly more positive in December. The general business activity index and the company outlook index posted double-digit increases, coming in at 29.7 and 31.5, respectively. Both represent highs last seen in 2006.

Labor market measures suggested more rapid employment growth and longer workweeks this month. The employment index came in at 20.4, up 14 points from November. More than 30 percent of firms noted net hiring, compared with 11 percent noting net layoffs. The hours worked index shot up to 23.3, a 12-year high.
These were the last of the regional Fed surveys for December.

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

Based on these regional surveys, it seems likely the ISM manufacturing index will be strong again in December (to be released Wednesday, Jan 3rd).