Last updateThu, 16 May 2019 4pm


Industrial Production Down Again in March

U.S. industrial production edged down 0.1% in March after edging up 0.1% in February; for the first quarter as a whole, the index slipped 0.3% at an annual rate. Manufacturing production was unchanged in March, after declining in both January and February, and moved down at an annual rate of 1.1% in the first quarter. The output of durables edged down in March.

Texas Economic Activity Stabilizes, Slower Job Growth Ahead

Output growth in Texas has stabilized after a relatively robust 2018, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Texas Business Outlook Surveys suggest. However, a tight labor market, slowing energy activity and weakening global demand will restrain Texas growth during 2019, an assessment consistent with the Dallas Fed’s outlook for the year.

Texas Business Outlook Surveys (TBOS) data suggest economic growth remains steady but at lower levels than last year when TBOS indexes of economic activity were higher. While growth in manufacturing production and service sector revenue are at long-term averages, retail sales are well below average.

Manufacturing Technology Orders Down 15%

Manufacturing technology orders totaled $337.2 million in February 2019 accounting for a 15% decline from January and a 7% decline from the previous February. The year-to-date total was $735.2 million, less than 1% off the year-to-date total at this point last year. Capacity utilization had a second month of declines in February, settling at 77%, off the post-recession high of 77.8% in December 2018.

Factory Orders Decreased in February

New orders for manufactured goods in February, down four of the last five months, decreased $2.6 billion or 0.5% to $497.5 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported. This followed a virtually unchanged January decrease.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in February, down following three consecutive monthly increases, decreased $4.2 billion or 1.6% to $250.5 billion, unchanged from the previously published decrease. This followed a 0.1% January increase.

Manufacturing Jobs Declined in March

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 196,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported. Notable job gains occurred in health care and in professional and technical services.

Manufacturing employment dropped by 6,000 in March, following a gain of 1,000 in February. In the 12 months prior to February, manufacturing had added an average of 22,000 jobs per month.

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