Respondents to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's monthly manufacturing survey reported stronger activity and optimism, while prices were little changed at high levels.

"Our composite index rose to another record high in May, with continued optimism for future growth," said Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Prices indexes were stable but remained at high levels.”

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's monthly manufacturing survey

The composite index climbed to 29 in May (its all-time high) from 26 in April, while the production index grew to 41 from 33, volume of shipments rose to 42 from 37, the volume of new orders index inched up to 38 from 37, and the backlog of orders index dipped to 27 from 29. The new orders for exports index jumped to 9 from 1 and the supplier delivery time index increased to 23 from 17.

The number of employees index slid to 24 from 26, while the average employee workweek index grew to 24 from 10. The prices received for finished product index fell to 22 from 29, while the prices paid for raw materials index crept to 53 from 52.

As for the inventories indexes, materials increased to 19 from 17, while the finished goods gained to 11 from 4.

In projections for six months from now, the composite index fell to 26 from 31, and the production index slumped to 32 from 44. The shipments declined to 39 from 47, while new orders decreased to 26 from 30, and the backlog of orders index dipped to 24 from 26. The new orders for exports index slid to 11 from 12, and the supplier delivery time index climbed to 30 from 28.

The number of employees index was at 35, unchanged from 35 last month, while the average employee workweek index plunged to 12 from 23. The prices received for finished product index decreased to 44 from 53, and the prices paid for raw materials declined to 63 from 66. The capital expenditures index was at 33, off from 37 the prior month.

As for the inventories indexes, materials fell to 7 from 19, while the finished goods index decreased to 3 from 11.

The Tenth Federal Reserve District includes Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, northern New Mexico and western Missouri.

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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.