Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook: Weakening Business Conditions

manufacturing growthJill Mislinski:  This morning we got the most recent Dallas Fed Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey (TMOS). The latest index came in at -34.6, a 13 point decrease from last month’s revised -21.6. Annual revisions were made.

The Investing.com forecast was for a reading of -15.0.

Here is an excerpt from the latest report:

Texas factory activity fell sharply in January, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index—a key measure of state manufacturing conditions—dropped 23 points, from 12.7 to-10.2, suggesting output declined this month after growing throughout fourth quarter 2015.

Other indexes of current manufacturing activity also indicated contraction in January. The survey’s demand measures—the new orders index and the growth rate of orders index—led the falloff in production with negative readings last month, and these indexes pushed further negative in January. The new orders index edged down to -9.2, and the growth rate of orders index fell to -17.5, its lowest level in a year. The capacity utilization index fell 15 points from 8.1 to -7, and the shipments index also posted a double-digit decline into negative territory, coming in at -11.

Perceptions of broader business conditions weakened markedly in January. The general business activity and company outlook indexes fell to their lowest readings since April 2009, when Texas was in recession. The general business activity index fell 13 points to -34.6, and the company outlook index slipped to -19.5.

Monthly data for this indicator only dates back to 2004, so it is difficult to see the full potential of this indicator without several business cycles of data. Nevertheless, it is an interesting and important regional manufacturing indicator. The Dallas Fed on the TMOS importance:

Texas is important to the nation’s manufacturing output. The state produced $159 billion in manufactured goods in 2008, roughly 9.5 percent of the country’s manufacturing output. Texas ranks second behind California in factory production and first as an exporter of manufactured goods.

Texas turns out a large share of the country’s production of petroleum and coal products, reflecting the significance of the region’s refining industry. Texas also produces over 10 percent of the nation’s computer and electronics products and nonmetallic mineral products, such as brick, glass and cement.

Here is a snapshot of the complete TMOS.

Dallas Fed Manufacturing

The next chart is an overlay of the General Index and the Future Outlook Index — the outlook six months ahead.

For comparison, here is the latest ISM Manufacturing survey.

ISM Manufacturing PMI

Let’s compare all five Regional Manufacturing indicators. Here is a three-month moving average overlay of each since 2001 (for those with data).

Here is the same chart including the average of the five.

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