Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook: Robust Expansion in July
This morning the Dallas Fed released its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey (TMOS) for July. The latest general business activity index came in at 32.3, down from 36.5 in June. Other components of the survey showed improved growth. All figures are seasonally adjusted.
Here is an excerpt from the latest report:
The robust expansion in Texas factory activity continued in July, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose six points to 29.4, signaling an acceleration in output growth.
Perceptions of broader business conditions were a bit less positive this month versus June, and uncertainty increased. The general business activity index slipped four points to 32.3. The company outlook index dropped 13 points to 20.4, which is the second-lowest reading this year but still elevated relative to the average. A new question introduced to the survey in January 2018 asks, “How has uncertainty regarding your company’s outlook changed in the current month vs. prior month?” In July, a quarter of firms said uncertainty increased, while only 8 percent said it decreased—bringing the outlook uncertainty index* to 17.0, well above its June reading and the highest level to date.
Expectations regarding future business conditions remained largely optimistic in July. The indexes of future general business activity and future company outlook were largely unchanged at 36.2 and 37.2, respectively. Other indexes for future manufacturing activity showed mixed movements but remained in solidly 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.