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Economy in Brief

Kansas City Federal Reserve Factory Index Retreats
by Tom Moeller  April 27, 2017

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City reported that its index of regional manufacturing sector business activity declined sharply to 7 during April from an unrevised 20 in March. It was the lowest level since November. Most of the index components fell sharply including new orders, shipments, production and inventories. Employment declined to the lowest level in three months. The index of export orders as well as supplier delivery times improved.

The index of finished goods prices gave back half of its March rise. Raw materials prices strengthened, however, to the highest level since September 2011.

Expectations for business conditions in six months retreated to the lowest level since December. Expected shipments and orders plunged. Employment expectations fell to the lowest level since December and the expected workweek also fell sharply. The index of expected capital expenditures similarly retreated, but expectations for export orders rose slightly. The future inventories reading recovered about half of its March decline.

Expectations for finished goods prices moved slightly away from its three-year high. Expected raw materials prices fell sharply.

The diffusion indexes are calculated as the percentage of total respondents reporting increases minus the percentage reporting declines. The survey included 94 responses from plants in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming and northern New Mexico. Data for the Kansas City Fed Survey can be found in Haver's SURVEYS database.

Kansas City Federal Reserve Manufacturing Survey (SA) Apr Mar Feb Apr '16 2016 2015 2014
Conditions Versus One Month Ago (% Balance) 7 20 14 -4 -2 -6 6
   New Orders Volume 8 32 26 -1 -1 -8 7
   Number of Employees 9 13 17 -10 -6 -10 5
   Production 12 37 11 -6 1 -5 7
   Prices Received for Finished Product 5 9 1 -7 -7 -5 5
Expected Conditions in Six Months 17 32 29 9 9 4 17
   New Orders Volume 15 43 36 17 19 11 26
   Number of Employees 26 43 30 4 8 6 18
   Production 28 51 42 22 20 11 28
   Prices Received for Finished Product 24 27 21 3 6 9 26
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