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Kansas City Fed

regional Fed

Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Continued to Decline in April, but the Outlook Improved

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity continued to decline in April, contracting for the 14th straight month. Reduced crude oil prices, the strong dollar and weaknesses abroad have pressured the sector’s performance, especially since the district includes energy-intensive Oklahoma. With that said, the pace of decline slowed for production (up from -14 to -8), shipments (up from -15 to -6), exports (up from -10 to -4) and the average workweek (up from -10 to -6). New orders remained slightly negative (unchanged at -2), and hiring continued to lag behind (unchanged at -12). Despite the negative seasonally-adjusted figure, one-third of respondents had increased new orders for the month, with 29 percent citing declines.

Meanwhile, the forward-looking data composite index returned to positive territory, up from -2 in March to 10 in April, its highest level in 14 months. Indeed, manufacturers in the Kansas City Fed’s district appeared to be more upbeat in April, with greatly-improved assessments for future orders (up from zero to 20), production (up from 5 to 25) and shipments (up from 5 to 27). More than 40 percent of those completing the survey expected increases in each of those three activities over the next six months. In addition, more respondents expect increased employment (up from 1 to 8) and a longer average workweek (up from 3 to 8), with modest gains seen in the labor market. Nonetheless, it was not all good news. Exports (up from zero to 1) were anticipated to remain marginally positive over the coming months, and capital expenditures (up from -9 to -6) were expected to continue to contract.

Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Has Declined for 13 Straight Months

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The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district has declined for 13 straight months. Still, the composite index of general business conditions increased from -12 in February to -6 in March, its best reading (albeit negative) since November. Reduced crude oil prices, the strong dollar and weaknesses abroad have pressured the sector’s performance, especially since the district includes energy-intensive Oklahoma. The slight improvement in the overall pace of decline in March reflected some stabilization for new orders (up from -15 to -2). Along those lines, the percentage of respondents saying that their new orders had increased for the month rose from 18 percent in February to 32 percent in March, which was somewhat encouraging.

Yet, other measures pulled back in March, indicating that manufacturers in the region remain highly challenged. This included production (down from -8 to -14), shipments (down from -11 to -15) and exports (down from -6 to -10). The labor market data eased marginally in their rate of growth for the month, but the pace of decline for hiring (up from -20 to -12) and the average workweek (up from -14 to -13) indicated that employment growth remained a significant problem. Looking at all of the current data, it should not be a surprise that manufacturers in the region remained anxious. Read More

Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Has Declined for 12 Straight Months

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The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district has declined for 12 straight months. The composite index of general business conditions fell from -9 in January to -12 in February, its lowest level since April 2009. Reduced crude oil prices, the strong dollar and weaknesses abroad have pressured the sector’s performance. The data were negative across-the-board, including new orders (up from -27 to -15), production (unchanged at -8), shipments (down from -7 to -11), exports (down from 1 to -6), employment (down from -7 to -20) and the average employee workweek (down from -7 to -14). Half of all respondents said that they experienced no change in new orders for the month, with 30 percent noting declining sales. As such, it should not be a surprise that manufacturers in the region remained anxious.

With that said, manufacturing leaders in the Kansas City Fed area were cautiously positive in their outlook for the next six months, but not overwhelmingly so. The forward-looking composite index edged down from 5 to 4. At the same time, new orders (up from 13 to 15), production (up from 14 to 16) and shipments (up from 18 to 20) are expected to increase at decent rates in the months ahead, which should provide some encouragement. Yet, other indicators reflect ongoing softness in the market. For instance, the labor market is anticipated to remain weak, including hiring (down from 5 to 3) and the average workweek (up from -8 to 1), and capital spending is seen declining (down from -1 to -9). Exports (down from 2 to -1) are also predicted to be slightly negative over the next six months.

Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Declined for the 8th Straight Month, but Stabilized in October

By | General, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district declined for the eighth straight month, but it stabilized a bit in October. The composite index of general business conditions improved from -8 in September to -1 in October. This measure has been in negative territory in each month since March, with reduced crude oil prices, the strong dollar and weaknesses abroad pressuring the sector’s performance. At the same time, the October headline number was not far from being neutral, providing some encouragement. Indeed, much of this increase stemmed from a recovery in the pace of new orders (up from -8 to 7), its first positive reading so far this year, with production (up from 1 to 4) expanding slightly for the second consecutive month. Read More

Kansas City Fed: Outlook for Next Six Months Turned Negative in September

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Manufacturing activity in the district continued to decline, according to the latest survey from the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. The composite index of general business activity increased from -9 in August to -8 in September, and it has contracted for seven straight months. Much of that weakness stems from lower crude oil prices and the strong U.S. dollar, with several sample comments noting business difficulties with these issues.

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Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Has Declined for Six Straight Months

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The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district has declined for six straight months. The composite index of general business conditions edged lower, down from -7 in July to -9 in August, with this measure in solid negative territory since March. Overall, manufacturers continue to report contracting levels of activity, with reduced crude oil prices, the strong dollar and weaknesses abroad pressuring the sector’s performance. Indeed, various measures of activity were negative across-the-board. This included new orders (down from -6 to -9), production (down from -5 to -16), shipments (down from -2 to -15) and exports (up from -10 to -4). Exports have now declined for eight consecutive months. Read More

Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Declined for the Fifth Straight Month in July

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The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity declined for the fifth straight month in July, albeit at a slower pace than in either May or June. The composite index of general business conditions increased from -13 in May to -9 in June to -7 in July. Overall, manufacturers continue to report contracting levels of activity, with reduced crude oil prices, the strong dollar and weaknesses abroad pressuring the sector’s performance. Indeed, various measures of activity were negative across-the-board, even with some of them showing a slower rate of decline for the month. This included new orders (down from -3 to -6), production (up from -21 to -5), shipments (up from -15 to -2) and exports (down from -5 to -10). Exports have now declined for seven consecutive months. Read More

Monday Economic Report – June 29, 2015

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Here is the summary for this week’s Monday Economic Report:

Last week, there were several reminders that the manufacturing sector has not recovered fully from economic weaknesses earlier in the year, even as business leaders remain cautiously optimistic about activity in the coming months. Durable goods orders declined 1.8 percent in May, extending April’s 1.5 percent decrease. Much of this softness stemmed from reduced aircraft sales, with orders excluding transportation modestly higher. Nonetheless, durable goods demand has been quite weak for much of the past year. On the positive side, we would expect stronger durable goods orders in the June data, with the recent Paris Air Show lifting aircraft sales, and the broader measure, which excludes transportation, has edged marginally higher over the past three months. We hope that this is the start of a rebound. Read More

Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Declined for the Fourth Straight Month in June

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The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity declined for the fourth straight month in June, albeit at a slower pace than in May. The composite index of general business conditions increased from -13 in May to -9 in June. The slower decline for the headline measure stemmed largely from an easing in the decrease of new orders (up from -19 to -3). Still, it is hard to paint this report in a positive manner, with continued sluggishness across the board. For instance, the rate of production weakened even further (down from -13 to -21), with shipments (down from -9 to -15), employment (up from -17 to -9) and exports (up from -9 to -5) all solidly in contraction. Exports have been negative for six consecutive months. Read More

Monday Economic Report – May 26, 2015

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Here is the summary for this week’s Monday Economic Report:

The minutes of the April 28–29 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting highlighted the nuance that many of us see in the economy right now. The Federal Reserve highlighted a number of challenges facing consumers and businesses in the early months of 2015, noting how these headwinds have dampened overall activity year-to-date. On the other hand, the FOMC felt that slowing economic growth was largely due to “transitory factors,” with its outlook mostly unchanged for the rest of this year. The Federal Reserve projects growth of 2.3 to 2.7 percent in 2015, and it expects the unemployment rate to fall to 5.0 to 5.2 percent.   Read More