Manufacturing activity in the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's region "slowed slightly but remained solid, and optimism for future activity remained high" in November, according to the bank's monthly manufacturing survey, released Friday.

"Factories reported another good month in November," said Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “However, a number of firms noted increasing difficulty finding skilled labor.”

The composite index declined to 16 in November from 23 in October, while the production index slipped to 15 from 20, volume of shipments dropped to 20 from 25, the volume of new orders index fell to 22 from 27, and the backlog of orders index plunged to 12 from 23. The new orders for exports index reversed to negative 2 from positive 8 and the supplier delivery time index fell to 8 from 20.

The number of employees index declined to 16 from 21, while the average employee workweek index slid to 7 from 12. The prices received for finished product index dipped to 12 from 13, while the prices paid for raw materials index slipped to 24 from 25.

As for the inventories indexes, materials decreased to 22 from 29, while the finished goods fell to 2 from 18.

In projections for six months from now, the composite index slipped to 27 from 32, and the production index fell to 40 from 47. The shipments declined to 37 from 45, while new orders decreased to 31 from 45, and the backlog of orders index dropped to 28 from 33. The new orders for exports index fell to 7 from 15, and the supplier delivery time index grew to 16 from 9.

The number of employees index was at 35, unchanged from last month, while the average employee workweek index slumped to 15 from 27. The prices received for finished product index grew to 37 from 32, and the prices paid for raw materials climbed to 59 from 43. The capital expenditures index was at 20, after a 22 reading the prior month.

As for the inventories indexes, materials dropped to 13 from 22, while the finished goods index fell to 7 from 17.

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.