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Economy in Brief

Texas Factory Sector Activity Approaches 2006 High
by Tom Moeller  February 27, 2017

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas indicated in its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey that the General Business Activity Index increased to 24.5 during February, the strongest reading since April 2006. Improved readings for production, employment and the delivery times index led the total higher. Another labor indicator, the wages & benefits series, remained firm. As for inflation, the finished goods prices paid indicator surged to the highest level since April 2011, and the raw materials prices index also strengthened to its 2011 high.

The General Business Activity, Six Months Ahead Index backed away from its 13-year high. Expected production, new orders and shipments all eased. Expected employment and wages & salaries, however, strengthened significantly.

Each index is calculated by subtracting the percentage reporting a decrease from the percentage reporting an increase. When all firms report that activity has increased, an index will register 100. An index will register -100 when all firms report a decrease. An index will be zero when the number of firms reporting an increase or decrease is equal. Items may not add up to 100% because of rounding. Data for the Texas Manufacturing Outlook can be found in Haver's SURVEYS database.

Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey (SA, % Balance) Feb Jan Dec Feb'16 2016 2015 2014
Current General Business Activity Index 24.5 22.1 17.7 -31.4 -8.8 -12.5 8.4
   Production 16.7 11.9 14.8 -8.5 2.4 -1.0 14.5
   Growth Rate of Orders 2.0 6.7 -1.1 -17.6 -7.3 -11.8 4.7
   Number of Employees 9.6 6.1 -3.4 -13.3 -4.9 -0.4 11.5
   Prices Received for Finished Goods 19.5 17.7 16.2 -12.7 -1.6 -8.5 8.3
General Business Activity Index Expected in Six Months 37.0 43.7 42.5 -1.5 8.9 4.1 17.4
   Production 46.4 53.9 54.8 33.4 35.8 31.1 42.7
   Growth Rate of New Orders 39.9 48.4 36.0 18.5 24.3 20.7 31.5
   Wages & Benefits 45.0 42.5 43.6 28.0 34.8 33.2 43.1
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