Manufacturing Rising in Texas, Says Dallas Fed

Feb 29, 2012

Texas manufacturing ticked up last month, according to a report from the Dallas Federal Reserve (DFR).

The Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey is conducted by the DFR monthly. It only complies results from 85 Texas manufacturers, so it’s more of a snapshot that a comprehensive assessment. Still, the findings reflect improving conditions among those surveyed.

The DFR points to several signs of manufacturing improvement: The state production index, the DFR’s gauge of manufacturing conditions, rose by over five points, from 5.8 to 11.2. New orders, shipments, and capacity utilization all posted gains for the month.

Employment measures – both new hires and hours worked by current employees – also saw growth.

The DFR also posted select comments from the firms they survey, some of which are just as incisive as the statistics. Below, we’ve reposted some comments of note.

Machinery Manufacturing
The economy continues to slowly grow or remain flat other than a few areas such as oil and gas that are expanding at a strong pace

Primary Metal Manufacturing
Pent-up demand to replace aging products is driving most of the increases over last year’s levels of business.

Chemical Manufacturing
The outlook in our business is positive due to lower natural gas prices and the Canadian oil sands development.

Paper Manufacturing 
A recent acquisition took place in our industry. It will be interesting to see if they can consolidate and close some box plants as they have stated. If that takes place, it should make for a healthier climate for all box plants.

Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing
We expect our industry to cyclically bottom out.

Food Manufacturing

The price we pay for dairy ingredients has come down substantially in the last two months. Other commodities—for example, sugar, corn products and diesel—remain very expensive.