“Declines in Texas manufacturing continued to moderate in July,” according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, released yesterday. “Nearly all indexes of current factory activity posted seasonal declines; however, seasonally adjusted data soon to be released suggest the rate of contraction has slowed.”

The general business conditions index widened to negative 25.5 in July from negative 20.4 in June.

The production index fell to negative 17.4 from negative 7.0, while capacity use decreased to negative 20.9 from negative 12.2, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders widened to negative 13.2 from negative 10.1, while the growth rate of orders index narrowed to negative 17.6 from negative 18.1.

Unfilled orders slipped to negative 25.3 from negative 17.2, the volume of shipments slumped to negative 22.0 from negative 14.1, and delivery times widened to negative 19.8 from negative 15.2. The materials inventory index rose to negative 22.0 from negative 27.2, while the finished goods inventory declined to negative 29.7 from negative 17.2.

Prices paid for raw materials moved to negative 5.5 from negative 5.1, and prices received for finished goods dropped to negative 23.1 from negative 17.1. Wages and benefits slipped to 2.2 from 3.0, the number of employees index fell to negative 26.4 from negative 25.2, the average workweek index decreased to negative 16.5 from negative 15.3, and the capital expenditures index slipped to negative 24.5 from negative 18.4.

As for the outlook six months from now, the general business conditions index reversed to negative 2.3 from positive 5.1 last month, the production index increased to 35.6 from 20.6, and capacity use rose to 34.4 from 19.6, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders grew to 36.7 from 27.1, and the growth rate of orders index grew to 27.8 from 23.0.

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