Manufacturing activity in the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's region "expanded at a slower pace with solid expectations for future activity" in April, according to the bank's monthly manufacturing survey, released Thursday.

"We came down a bit from the rapid growth rate of the past two months," said Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. "But firms still reported a good increase in activity and expected this to continue."

The composite index slid to 7 in April from 20 in March, while the production index fell to 12 from 37, volume of shipments dropped to 11 from 35, the volume of new orders index declined to 8 from 32, and the backlog of orders index decreased to 7 from 21. The new orders for exports index climbed to 4 from 2 and the supplier delivery time index increased to 5 from 2.

The number of employees index slid to 9 from 13, while the average employee workweek index dropped to negative 4 from positive 13. The prices received for finished product index fell to 5 from 9, while the prices paid for raw materials index grew to 34 from 28.

As for the inventories indexes, materials decreased to 4 from 16, while the finished goods dropped to 8 from 17.

In projections for six months from now, the composite index dipped to 13 from 14, and the production index increased to 18 from 17. The shipments index rose to 16 from 14, while new orders plunged to 15 from 30, and the backlog of orders index grew to 18 from 16. The new orders for exports index gained to 10 from 4, and the supplier delivery time index increased to 13 from 6.

The number of employees index was at 14, off from 17, while the average employee workweek index decreased to zero from 6. The prices received for finished product index climbed to 29 from 26, and the prices paid for raw materials increased to 48 from 37. The capital expenditures index was at 5, after a 12 reading the prior month.

As for the inventories indexes, materials grew to 3 from 1, while the finished goods index fell to negative 2 from positive 4.

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

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