Texas factory activity, as measured by the production index, “increased for the 10th consecutive month in April,” according to the monthly Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, released Monday.

The general business activity index fell to 16.8 in April from 16.9 in March.

The production index slid to 15.4 from 18.6.

Capacity use decreased to 11.5 from 13.2, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders gained to 11.5 from 9.5, while growth rate of orders index grew to 5.1 from 3.2.

Unfilled orders held at 0.1, while the volume of shipments increased to 9.5 from 6.5, and delivery times dropped to 1.4 from 10.1. The materials inventory index rose to 2.2 from zero, the finished goods inventory reversed to positive 1.0 from negative 1.8. Prices paid for raw materials fell to 20.8 from 25.2, while prices received for finished goods climbed to 12.0 from 7.5. Wages and benefits slipped to 18.8 from 19.7, while the employment index inched up to 8.5 from 8.4, and the hours worked index fell to 5.9 from 8.7, and the capital expenditures index slipped to 6.7 from 12.7.

As for future outlook (six months from now), the general business conditions index fell to 27.1 from 36.3 last month, the production index dropped to 39.6 from 44.8, while capacity use gained to 38.0 from 37.3, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders decreased to 36.1 from 45.1, while growth rate of orders index fell to 30.9 from 38.3.

Unfilled orders rose to 8.8 from 7.3, while the volume of shipments decreased to 41.5 from 45.7, and delivery times grew to 7.8 from 4.9. Materials inventories jumped to 8.2 from 4.4, and the finished goods inventory slid to 4.9 from 5.5.

Prices paid for raw materials plunged to 28.4 from 42.5, while prices received for finished goods increased to 26.0 from 25.5. Wages and benefits crept to 45.6 from 45.0, the employment index rose to 32.7 from 28.4, while the hours worked index gained to 9.9 from 9.4, and the capital expenditures index rebounded to 26.0 from 23.4.

The Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey is a monthly anecdotal survey of manufacturers in Texas. Over 100 manufacturers regularly participate in the Dallas Fed survey, which began collecting data in May 2004.

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