NEW YORK - Texas factory activity, as measured by the production index, continued to expand, atroughly the same pace in March as in February, according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, released Monday.

The general business conditions index decreased to 10.8 in March from 17.8 in February.

The production index dipped to 11.1 from 11.2, while capacity use increased to 12.3 from 10.0, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders slipped to negative 0.3 from positive 5.8, while growth rate of orders index reversed to negative 0.8 from positive 6.6.

Unfilled orders rose to positive 0.3 from negative 12.7 in the prior survey, while the volume of shipments jumped to 8.6 from 4.2, and delivery times gained to 6.8 from 3.6. The materials inventory index fell to negative 0.3 from positive 2.0, the finished goods inventory declined to negative 8.0 from negative 5.8. Prices paid for raw materials climbed to 27.7 from 25.2, while prices received for finished goods sank to negative 1.3 from positive 16.2. Wages and benefits grew to 21.0 from 18.4, while the employment index slid to 21.7 from 25.2, and the hours worked index fell to 2.9 from 7.1, and the capital expenditures index decreased to 6.3 from 12.1.

As for future outlook (six months from now), the general business conditions index rose to 19.1 from 15.9 last month, the production index increased to 44.0 from 40.8, while capacity use climbed to 41.8 from 39.1, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders rose to 44.0 from 37.0, while growth rate of orders index increased to 37.2 from 32.1.

Unfilled orders rose to 15.1 from 10.9, while the volume of shipments held at 42.8, and delivery times reversed to positive 1.2 from negative 1.2. Materials inventories rose to 11.8 from 3.7, and the finished goods inventory surged to 7.0 from 1.3.

Prices paid for raw materials increased to 55.8 from 45.8, while prices received for finished goods gained to 29.1 from 22.9. Wages and benefits grew to 40.3 from 39.9, the employment index increased to 36.9 from 32.9, while the hours worked index slid to 9.6 from 10.0, and the capital expenditures index dropped to 25.6 from 30.5.

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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