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For immediate release: December 28, 2009

Texas Manufacturing Holds Steady in December; Outlook Improves Further, According to Dallas Fed Survey

DALLAS—Texas factory activity was flat in December, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey.

Texas produces more than 8 percent of total manufactured goods in the United States, ranking second behind California in factory production.

The production index, a key indicator of state manufacturing conditions, came in close to zero in December, suggesting output held steady after growing in November for the first time since July 2008.

All indexes for future activity strengthened substantially in December, suggesting a more upbeat six-month outlook. The future business activity index climbed to its highest level in nearly three years.

Other broad indicators of current factory activity—including capacity utilization, shipments, new orders and growth rate of orders—remained positive and pointed to continued growth.

The business activity and company outlook indexes were positive for the second consecutive month in December. The employment index remained negative but posted a big improvement as the share of respondents reporting layoffs fell from 27.3 percent in November to 17.9 percent in December.

Current capital investment continued to decline, but the future capital expenditures index climbed into positive territory. Twenty-three percent of manufacturers—the highest share since September 2008—said they expected increases in capital expenditures six months from now.

Downward pressures on current finished goods prices remained, but the number of companies reporting declines in selling prices outpaced those seeing increases by the slimmest margin since October 2008. The future raw materials price index rose to its highest level since July 2008—when energy prices were at their peak.

The Dallas Fed conducts the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey monthly to obtain a timely assessment of the state’s factory activity.



Media contact:
James Hoard
Phone: (214) 922-5307