Monday, September 24, 2018

Dallas Fed: "Texas Manufacturing Expansion Continues amid Increased Uncertainty"

by Bill McBride on 9/24/2018 10:37:00 AM

From the Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Expansion Continues amid Increased Uncertainty

Texas factory activity continued to expand in September, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, dipped six points to 23.3, indicating output growth continued but at a slower pace than last month.

Other indexes of manufacturing activity also suggested slower expansion in September. The new orders index fell nine points to 14.7, its lowest reading in six months. Similarly, the growth rate of orders index slipped to 11.5, also a six-month low. The capacity utilization index retreated slightly to 21.6, while the shipments index fell five points to 20.8.

Perceptions of broader business conditions remained positive this month, although outlooks were less optimistic and uncertainty increased further. The general business activity index edged down but remained highly elevated at 28.1. The company outlook index held above average but retreated nine points to 18.2, its lowest reading in more than a year. The relatively new index measuring uncertainty regarding companies’ outlooks moved up four points to a new high of 19.9.

Labor market measures suggest employment levels and work hours rose at a slower pace in September. The employment index remained positive but dropped 11 points to 17.7. One-quarter of firms noted net hiring, compared with 7 percent noting net layoffs. The hours worked index moved down to 12.7.
emphasis added
So far the regional surveys for September have indicated solid growth.