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Monday, March 28, 2011

Texas Manufacturing Activity Strengthens Further, Pending Home sales increase in February

by Calculated Risk on 3/28/2011 10:30:00 AM

• From the Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Activity Strengthens Further

Texas factory activity increased in March, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose sharply to 24, its highest level in nearly a year.
Labor market indicators continued to reflect expansion. The employment index came in at a reading of 12, similar to February. Twenty percent of manufacturers reported hiring new workers compared with eight percent reporting layoffs. The hours worked index jumped to 13, with the share of firms reporting decreases in employee workweeks falling to its lowest level since 2006. The wages and benefits index rose from 9 to 12, although the great majority of respondents noted no change in labor costs.
Another strong report. The last of the regional reports will be released on Thursday, and the ISM manufacturing index will be released on Friday (should be very strong again).

• From the NAR: February Pending Home Sales Rise
The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator, rose 2.1 percent to 90.8, based on contracts signed in February, from 88.9 in January. The index is 8.2 percent below 98.9 recorded in February 2010. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months.
This suggests a slight increase in existing home sales in March and April.