Texas factory activity, as measured by the production index, “rose markedly in April after posting slower growth in March,” according to the monthly Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, released Monday.

“Price and wage pressures remained elevated in April,” according to the report.

The general business activity index slid to 21.8 in April from 22.8 in March.

Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey

The production index soared to 25.3 from 14.4.

Capacity utilization gained to 18.7 from 11.1, the Fed reported. New orders rose to 27.9 from 10.3, while growth rate of orders index increased to 18.9 from 5.3.

Unfilled orders grew to 7.2 from 6.7, while shipments increased to 19.3 from 10.3, and delivery times surged to 14.5 from 2.6. The finished goods inventory dipped to 1.7 from 1.8. Prices paid for raw materials rose to 46.3 from 43.0, while prices received for finished goods slipped to 17.0 from 19.2. Wages and benefits climbed to 29.3 from 24.1, while the employment index increased to 17.8 from 11.7, and the hours worked index rose to 14.3 from 10.2, and the capital expenditures index gained to 23.9 from 18.2.

As for future outlook (six months from now), the general business conditions index crept to 31.9 from 31.6 last month, the production index rose to 52.3 from 46.0, while capacity use increased to 49.0 from 47.1, the Fed reported. New orders grew to 47.6 from 44.5, while growth rate of orders index increased to 37.8 from 33.6.

Unfilled orders slid to 15.5 from 17.6, while shipments gained to 49.2 from 48.3, and delivery times jumped to 11.4 from 6.9. The finished goods inventory grew to 11.1 from 5.7.

Prices paid for raw materials slipped to 49.1 from 50.5, while prices received for finished goods rose to 33.3 from 28.7. Wages and benefits climbed to 50.1 from 48.5, the employment index rose to 35.4 from 34.7, while the hours worked index declined to 14.4 from 19.4, and the capital expenditures index fell to 31.0 from 37.8.

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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Gary Siegel

Gary Siegel

Gary Siegel has been at The Bond Buyer since 1989, currently covering economic indicators and the Federal Reserve system.