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

“Most indicators of current production and general business conditions remained weak. Nearly all indexes for future activity dipped considerably, and several manufacturers noted that the credit crisis had dampened their outlook,” the Fed said

The general business conditions index widened to negative 59.4 in October from negative 39.6 in September.

The production index improved to negative 13.7 from negative 21.4, while capacity use dropped to negative 19.6 from negative 18.5, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders narrowed to negative 25.5 from negative 27.1, while growth rate of orders index improved to negative 28.5 from negative 35.9.

Unfilled orders slipped to negative 17.7 from negative 11.8 in the prior survey, while the volume of shipments rebounded to negative 9.8 from negative 21.6, and delivery times dropped to negative 7.9 from negative 2.0. The materials inventory index fell to negative 12.7 from negative 9.8, the finished goods inventory slipped to negative 18.8 from negative 4.9. Prices paid for raw materials slid to negative 9.8 from positive 27.2, while prices received for finished goods dipped to negative 3.9 from positive 8.7. Wages and benefits dropped to 5.9 from 13.6, while the number of employees index widened to negative 15.7 from negative 8.8, and the average workweek index narrowed to negative 15.8 from negative 20.8, and the capital expenditures index widened to negative 17.0 from negative 13.7.

As for future outlook (six months from now), the general business conditions index widened to negative 36.6 from negative 16.8 last month, the production index decreased to 2.0 from 25.5, while capacity use fell to negative 3.0 from positive 21.5, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders slid to negative 3.0 from positive 23.6, while growth rate of orders index decreased to negative 3.9 from positive 16.9.

Unfilled orders dropped to negative 15.9 from negative 6.8, while the volume of shipments sank to negative 6.9 from positive 22.8 and delivery times inched up to negative 13.8 from negative 14.0. Materials inventories declined to negative 24.0 from negative 3.0, and the finished goods inventory declined to negative 25.8 from negative 9.9.

Prices paid for raw materials fell to negative 4.90 from positive 31.6, while prices received for finished goods dropped to 0.9 from 25.5. Wages and benefits dropped to 19.6 from 35.3, the number of employees index slid to negative 15.7 from positive 3.9, while the average workweek index decreased to negative 14.7 from zero, and the capital expenditures index dropped to negative 16.0 from zero.

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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