Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Richmond, Dallas Fed Report Manufacturing Gains


RICHMOND FED -- "Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region advanced for the third straight month, according to the Richmond Fed’s latest survey. Our broadest indicators of overall activity—shipments, new orders and employment—remained in positive territory, and the rate of increase strengthened considerably from our last report. Other indicators were also positive, including backlogs and capacity utilization. Likewise, delivery times and finished goods inventories grew at a moderately quicker rate.

Looking ahead, assessments of business prospects for the next six months were generally on par with last month’s readings. Contacts at more firms anticipated that shipments, new orders, backlogs, capacity utilization, and capital expenditures would continue to grow at a solid pace in the months ahead.

In February, the seasonally adjusted composite index of manufacturing activity—our broadest measure of manufacturing—increased eight points to 20 from January’s reading of 12 (see chart above). Among the index’s components, shipments gained eight points to 25, new orders picked up seven points to finish at 21, and the jobs index moved up nine points to end at 13."

From the Dallas Fed's report yesterday:

"Texas factory activity continued to increase in February, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey.  Highlights include:

1. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose from 5.8 to 11.2, suggesting a pickup in the pace of growth.

2. The new orders index was positive for a second month in a row but fell from 9.5 to 5.8. Similarly, the shipments index moved down from 6.1 to 4.2. 

3. Capacity utilization increased further in February; the index edged up from 8.5 to 10.

4. The general business activity index rose to 17.8, its highest reading since November 2010.

5. The company outlook index also reached a level not seen since 2010; it advanced from 13.5 to 15.8.

6. The employment index jumped to 25.2, its highest level since the beginning of 2006.  

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