“The decline in Texas manufacturing activity slowed in April,” according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and released yesterday.

The general business conditions index narrowed to negative 31.6 in April from negative 49.0 in March.

The production index rose to negative 8.9 from negative 22.3, while capacity use increased to negative 12.9 from negative 25.5, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders narrowed to negative 14.8 from negative 30.1, while growth rate of orders index rose to negative 22.7 from negative 35.9.

Unfilled orders climbed to negative 19.8 from negative 27.5 in the prior survey, the volume of shipments jumped to negative 7.9 from negative 27.2, and delivery times narrowed to negative 14.9 from negative 20.4. The materials inventory index rose to negative 26.0 from negative 30.1 and the finished goods inventory declined to negative 26.0 from negative 10.8.

Prices paid for raw materials moved to negative 34.7 from negative 41.7, while prices received for finished goods climbed to negative 30.0 from negative 30.1. Wages and benefits bounced to zero from negative 7.8, the number of employees index grew to negative 37.4 from negative 46.6, the average workweek index increased to negative 27.0 from negative 43.6, and the capital expenditures index improved to negative 18.0 from negative 35.3.

As for the outlook six months from now, the general business conditions index improved to negative 4.0 from negative 7.9 last month, the production index decreased to 13.0 from 13.9, and capacity use rose to 15.0 from 9.0, the Fed reported.

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