Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook: Expansion Slow but Solid in November

This morning the Dallas Fed released its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey (TMOS) for November. The latest general business activity index came in at 19.4, down from 27.6 in October.

Here is an excerpt from the latest report:

Texas factory activity continued to expand in November, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, fell 10 points from its October reading but remained elevated at 15.1.

Perceptions of broader business conditions remained highly positive in November. The general business activity index came in at 19.4, down eight points from October. The company outlook index posted its 15th consecutive positive reading but dipped to 18.5.

Expectations regarding future business conditions remained highly optimistic. The index of future general business activity held steady at 39.0, while the index of future company outlook edged up to 40.8. Other indexes for future manufacturing activity showed mixed movements but remained solidly in positive territory.

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.