Dallas Fed Manufacturing: Business Conditions Worsen to Three Year Low

The Dallas Fed released its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey (TMOS) for May. The latest general business activity index came in at -29.1, down 5.7 from last month. The general business activity index has declined each of the past four months and has been in contraction territory since May of last year. All figures are seasonally adjusted.

Here is an excerpt from the latest report:

Texas factory activity remained relatively flat in May, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, inched down from 0.9 to -1.3, with the near-zero reading suggestive of little change in output from last month.

Other measures of manufacturing activity showed declines in May. The new orders index has now been in negative territory for a year and pushed down further from -9.6 to -16.1. The growth rate of orders index also fell, declining 10 points to -20.7, its lowest value since mid-2020. The capacity utilization index moved down from 3.9 to -4.9, while the shipments index was unchanged at -3.0.

Perceptions of broader business conditions continued to worsen in May. The general business activity index dropped six points to -29.1, its lowest reading in three years. The company outlook index pushed down seven points to -22.3, also a three-year low. The outlook uncertainty index retreated to 13.4, a reading below average.

Labor market measures suggest continued employment growth but flat work hours. The employment index ticked up two points to 9.6, slightly above its average reading. Twenty-three percent of firms noted net hiring, while 13 percent noted net layoffs. The hours worked index inched up to -0.9.

Price pressures dropped further below normal levels, and wage pressures also eased but remained elevated. The raw materials prices index fell six points to 13.8, further below its average reading of 27.8. The finished goods prices index fell eight points to 0.4, with the near-zero reading suggestive of flat selling prices. The wages and benefits index declined 13 points to 25.0, a reading now only slightly above its average of 21.0.