Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook: Expansion Continues

This morning the Dallas Fed released its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey (TMOS) for April. The latest general business activity index came in at 16.8, little changed from 16.9 in March.

Here is an excerpt from the latest report:

Texas factory activity increased for the 10th consecutive month in April, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, moved down three points to 15.4, suggesting output growth continued but at a slightly slower pace this month....

Perceptions of broader business conditions improved again. The general business activity index held steady at 16.8, and the company outlook index inched down but remained positive at 15.1....

Expectations regarding future business conditions continued to improve, although several six-month-ahead indexes retreated from their March levels. The indexes of future general business activity and future company outlook came in at 27.1 and 26.2, respectively, down from last month’s readings but still solidly in positive territory. Most other indexes for future manufacturing activity slipped but remained positive.

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.