Tenth District Manufacturing Activity Continued To Expand Moderately
Tenth District manufacturing activity continued to expand moderately, and producers’ expectations for future activity increased considerably. Most price indexes recorded little change, with the exception of current selling prices which fell modestly.
The month-over-month composite index was 9 in January, unchanged from 9 in December but up from 0 in November (Tables 1 & 2, Chart). The composite index is an average of the production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time, and raw materials inventory indexes. Activity in durable goods plants increased moderately, particularly for metals, electronics, and machinery, while nondurable goods plants expanded at a slower pace with food production falling considerably. Most month-over-month indexes improved slightly in January. The production index moved slightly higher from 18 to 20, and the shipments, new orders, and order backlog indexes also increased. The employment index moderated somewhat from 8 to 6, and the new orders for exports index remained negative. The finished goods inventory index decreased from 0 to -4, and the raw materials inventory index also fell into negative territory.
Most year-over-year factory indexes increased considerably. The composite year-over-year index rose from 0 to 7, and the production, shipments, and new orders indexes recorded their highest levels in over two years. The order backlog index jumped from -5 to 5, and the employment index also moved into positive territory. In contrast, the capital expenditures index inched lower from 2 to -2, and the new orders for exports index continued to decline. The raw materials inventory index increased from -9 to -3, and the finished goods inventory index also rose.
Expectations for future factory activity continued to increase sharply. The future composite index jumped from 17 to 27, and the future production, shipments, and new orders indexes reached their highest levels in over twelve years. The future employment index increased markedly from 11 to 31, and the future capital expenditures index rose moderately. The future raw materials inventory index increased slightly, and the future finished goods index also moved higher.
Price indexes were mostly unchanged in January. The month-over-month finished goods price index fell from 10 to 0, and the raw materials price index also eased slightly. The year-over-year finished goods price index moderated from 17 to 13, while the raw materials price edged higher. Both the future finished goods price index and the future raw materials price index were basically unchanged from the previous month.