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Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey Activity Stronger

Texas factory activity, as measured by the production index, "rose sharply" in January, according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, released Monday.

This month's survey data include annual seasonal factor revisions.

The general business activity index improved to 5.5 in January from 2.5 in December.

The production index gained to 12.9 from 3.5, while capacity use surged to 14.0 from 2.1, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders jumped to positive 12.2 from negative 1.0, while growth rate of orders index narrowed to negative 3.8 from negative 5.5.

Unfilled orders inched up to negative 7.9 from negative 8.0 in the prior survey, while the volume of shipments increased to 21.9 from 13.1, and delivery times reversed to positive 4.6 from negative 6.6. The materials inventory index widened to negative 7.4 from negative 2.0, the finished goods inventory dipped to negative 5.6 from negative 5.5. Prices paid for raw materials climbed to 27.8 from 21.9, while prices received for finished goods surged to positive 10.2 from negative 0.9. Wages and benefits grew to 19.2 from 15.0, while the employment index rose to positive 8.7 from negative 1.3, and the hours worked index dropped to 0.8 from 2.7, and the capital expenditures index grew to 21.6 from 13.5.

As for future outlook (six months from now), the general business conditions index rose to 9.2 from 7.1 last month, the production index increased to 35.7 from 24.1, while capacity use increased to 32.0 from 20.3, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders rose to 35.9 from 30.0, while growth rate of orders index increased to 25.9 from 15.6.

Unfilled orders climbed to 9.4 from 4.6, while the volume of shipments gained to 36.2 from 24.2, and delivery times improved to negative 0.9 from negative 2.4. Materials inventories increased to 20.3 from 5.7, and the finished goods inventory rose to 1.2 from zero.

Prices paid for raw materials climbed to 41.1 from 38.6, while prices received for finished goods rose to 21.4 from 17.3. Wages and benefits grew to 42.4 from 32.2, the employment index gained to 28.6 from 22.7, while the hours worked index jumped to 11.2 from 5.3, and the capital expenditures index rose to 29.8 from 20.5.

The Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey is a monthly anecdotal survey of manufacturers in Texas. Roughly 80 manufacturers regularly participate in the Dallas Fed survey, which began collecting data in May 2004.

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