Texas factory activity was flat in April, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, fell from 9.9 to -0.5. The near-zero reading indicates output was little changed from March levels.
Ebbing growth in manufacturing activity was reflected in other survey measures as well. The capacity utilization index came in at 2.7, down from 5.5, and the shipments index fell to zero after rising to 10.6 in March. The new orders index fell nearly 14 points to -4.9, posting its first negative reading this year.
Perceptions of broader business conditions worsened in April. The general business activity index plummeted from 7.4 to -15.6, reaching its lowest level since July 2012. The company outlook index turned negative as well, declining from 9.6 to -2.2.
Labor market indicators remained mixed. The employment index has been in positive territory so far in 2013 and moved up to 6.3 in April. Twenty percent of firms reported hiring new workers compared with 14 percent reporting layoffs. The hours worked index pushed further negative, from -2.4 to -6.5.