Monday, December 27, 2010

Dallas Fed: Manufacturing Activity Continues to Grow

by Calculated Risk on 12/27/2010 10:35:00 AM

From the Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Activity Continues to Grow

The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, was positive for the fourth consecutive month.

Other indicators of current activity also remained positive, signaling continued growth in manufacturing. The shipments index held steady at a reading of 8, and the capacity utilization index rose from 10 to 15, with 29 percent of manufacturers reporting an increase. The new orders index declined in December but stayed in positive territory, with more than three-fourths of firms noting increased or unchanged order volumes.

Measures of general business conditions remained positive in December. The general business activity index came in at 13, with nearly a quarter of respondents noting improved activity. The company outlook index edged down to 15, although the share of manufacturers who said their outlook improved rose to its highest level since May.

Labor market indicators improved notably this month. The employment index rose from 6 in November to 15 in December, reaching its highest level since early 2007. Twenty-four percent of firms reported hiring new workers, compared with 9 percent reporting layoffs. Hours worked increased again this month, and the wages and benefits index rose from 5 to 10.
This is not strong growth, but activity is increasing - and the labor indicators are good news.