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Economy in Brief

Texas Factory Sector Index Eases
by Tom Moeller  July 30, 2018

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas indicated in its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey that the General Business Activity Index declined to 32.3 during July after increasing to 36.5 in June. The latest level remained near the expansion high.

Movement amongst the sub-series was mixed. The growth rate of new orders and delivery times declined. On the labor front, employment increased to the highest level of the recovery, and the workweek series also rose. Wages and benefits improved to almost the recovery high.

The index for finished goods prices received eased, but remained near the expansion high. The raw materials price measure also remained firm. The cost of labor rose as the wages & benefits index increased to the highest point since February.

The index of expected business conditions in six months rose m/m. Movement amongst the sub-series was mixed. The future production series strengthened along with shipments, but orders growth declined. Future employment was stable, after having moved roughly sideways for a year. Future wages & benefits remained near the recovery high.

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) Jul Jun May Jul'17 2017 2016 2015
Current General Business Activity Index 32.3 36.5 26.8 17.3 20.6 -8.9 -12.5
   Production 29.4 23.3 35.2 23.5 20.2 2.4 -1.0
   Growth Rate of New Orders 17.0 22.2 26.5 13.9 11.4 -7.3 -11.8
   Number of Employees 28.9 23.9 23.4 11.6 11.4 -4.9 -0.4
   Wages & Benefits 32.4 31.4 24.3 21.0 22.2 17.6 16.5
   Prices Received for Finished Goods 22.9 26.2 20.5 6.0 12.7 -1.6 -8.5
General Business Activity Index Expected in Six Months 36.2 35.9 30.0 31.3 34.5 8.9 4.1
   Production 50.6 47.9 58.0 49.1 46.8 35.8 31.1
   Growth Rate of New Orders 35.1 37.7 37.7 32.8 37.7 24.3 20.7
   Number of Employees 39.9 39.8 37.6 36.2 35.2 16.8 14.7
   Wages & Benefits 53.2 53.2 50.6 45.9 43.4 34.8 33.2
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