Texas factory activity, as measured by the production index, rose in October at a slower rate than in September, according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, released Monday.

The general business activity index improved to positive 1.8 in October from negative 0.9 in September.

The production index dipped to 7.9 from 10.0, while capacity use increased to 11.4 from 9.3, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders slumped to negative 4.5 from positive 5.3, while growth rate of orders index declined to negative 13.5 from negative 0.4.

Unfilled orders widened to negative 16.5 from negative 6.9 in the prior survey, while the volume of shipments increased to 4.7 from 4.5, and delivery times slid to negative 11.9 from negative 8.2. The materials inventory index dropped to negative 6.8 from positive 0.2, the finished goods inventory dropped to negative 8.9 from negative 3.1. Prices paid for raw materials soared to 35.6 from 22.5, while prices received for finished goods improved to positive 4.2 from negative 1.3. Wages and benefits fell to 11.0 from 15.4, while the employment index slid to 5.2 from 5.9, and the hours worked index dropped to negative 5.9 from positive 2.8, and the capital expenditures index grew to 9.9 from 8.6.

As for future outlook (six months from now), the general business conditions index rose to 16.8 from 5.5 last month, the production index increased to 30.3 from 26.4, while capacity use climbed to 30.4 from 24.5, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders fell to 24.8 from 25.3, while growth rate of orders index soared to 17.0 from 4.2.

Unfilled orders improved to zero from negative 6.5, while the volume of shipments gained to 32.4 from 26.9, and delivery times improved to negative 2.0 from negative 5.4. Materials inventories increased to positive 10.2 from negative 1.1, and the finished goods inventory rose to zero from negative 6.5.

Prices paid for raw materials slipped to 37.1 from 47.3, while prices received for finished goods dropped to 18.4 from 21.7. Wages and benefits slid to 33.8 from 34.4, the employment index rose to 21.4 from 15.1, while the hours worked index grew to 9.7 from 0.2, and the capital expenditures index rose to 21.7 from 20.6.

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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