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Texas Manufacturing Activity Rebounds in March, Says Dallas Fed Survey

For immediate release: March 28, 2016

DALLAS—Texas factory activity expanded slightly in March, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey.

The production index—a key measure of state manufacturing conditions—rebounded to positive territory this month, coming in at 3.3 after two months of negative readings.

Positive readings in the survey generally indicate expansion of factory activity, while readings below zero generally indicate contraction.

Other indexes of current manufacturing activity also rose in March, although some remained in contractionary territory. The new orders index jumped but remained negative, suggesting demand continued to fall but at a slower pace than last month. The growth rate of orders index has been negative since October 2014, although it did rise in March to –11.7. The capacity utilization index bounced back to positive territory after negative readings so far this year, while the shipments index remained near zero.

Perceptions of broader business conditions remained negative but showed signs of slight stabilization in March. The general business activity index jumped 18 points but remained negative for a 15th consecutive month, posting a reading of –13.6. The company outlook index posted a fourth negative reading in a row but edged up to –11.0.

Labor market indicators reflected continued decline in March. The employment index was largely unchanged at –10.3. The hours worked index remained negative for a third month in a row but edged up to –5.6.

Expectations regarding future business conditions improved in March. The index of future general business activity had its first positive reading in four months at 6.1, while the index for future company outlook posted a second positive reading at 11.6. Indexes for future manufacturing activity remained in solid positive territory.

Texas produces more than 11 percent of total manufactured goods in the United States, ranking second behind California in factory production.

The Dallas Fed conducts the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey monthly to obtain a timely assessment of the state’s factory activity.

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Media contact:
Justin Jones
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Phone: (214) 922-5449
Email: justin.jones@dal.frb.org