Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook: Business Index Highest in 12 Years

This morning the Dallas Fed released its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey (TMOS) for January. The latest general business activity index came in at 33.4, up from 29.7 in December.

Here is an excerpt from the latest report:

Texas factory activity continued to expand in January, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, remained elevated but retreated to 16.8 after surging to an 11-year high in December.

Perceptions of broader business conditions remained highly positive in January. The general business activity index pushed up further to 33.4, its highest reading in more than 12 years. The company outlook index remained elevated but edged down to 27.8.

Expectations regarding future business conditions were even more optimistic in January. The index of future general business activity rose four points to 44.5, its highest level since December 2004. The future company outlook index edged up to 43.2, also a relatively high level. Other indexes of future manufacturing activity pushed further into 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.