NEW YORK - “Texas manufacturing activity deteriorated further in November,” according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, released today.

“Most indicators of current factory activity plunged sharply. Several indexes for future production fell to their lowest levels since the survey started in June 2004, suggesting respondents expect continued deterioration in manufacturing activity over the next six months,” the Fed said

The general business conditions index widened to negative 61.0 in November from negative 59.4 in October.

The production index slipped to negative 21.0 from negative 13.7, while capacity use dropped to negative 22.0 from negative 19.6, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders widened to negative 38.0 from negative 25.5, while growth rate of orders index plunged to negative 46.0 from negative 28.5.

Unfilled orders dropped to negative 33.0 from negative 16.7 in the prior survey, while the volume of shipments slumped to negative 28.0 from negative 8.8, and delivery times dropped to negative 15.0 from negative 6.9. The materials inventory index fell to negative 29.0 from negative 11.7, the finished goods inventory slipped to negative 23.5 from negative 17.8. Prices paid for raw materials sank to negative 38.0 from negative 8.8, while prices received for finished goods dipped to negative 18.0 from negative 2.9. Wages and benefits dropped to 5.0 from 6.8, while the number of employees index slid to negative 23.0 from negative 14.7, and the average workweek index widened to negative 26.2 from negative 14.9, and the capital expenditures index dipped to negative 16.1 from negative 16.0.

As for future outlook (six months from now), the general business conditions index widened to negative 47.0 from negative 36.6 last month, the production index decreased to negative 6.1 from positive 2.0, while capacity use fell to negative 7.2 from negative 3.0, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders slid to negative 5.1 from negative 3.0, while growth rate of orders index decreased to negative 9.2 from negative 3.9.

Unfilled orders narrowed to negative 13.2 from negative 15.9, while the volume of shipments improved to negative 6.1 from negative 6.9, and delivery times climbed to negative 12.3 from negative 13.8. Materials inventories declined to negative 31.7 from negative 24.0, and the finished goods inventory narrowed to negative 25.2 from negative 25.8.

Prices paid for raw materials fell to negative 19.6 from negative 4.9, while prices received for finished goods dropped to negative 10.2 from positive 0.9. Wages and benefits gained to 28.6 from 19.6, the number of employees index narrowed to negative 7.1 from negative 15.7, while the average workweek index increased to negative 13.2 from negative 14.7, and the capital expenditures index dropped to negative 16.3 from negative 16.0.

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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