Texas Manufacturing Sees Year-End Surge

Texas Manufacturing Sees Year-End Surge

Production index in November reaches highest reading in five months.

Texas manufacturers reported growth for the third month in a row in November, the Dallas Federal Reserve said in its monthly Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey.

The production index jumped from 13.3 in October to 16.9 in November and capacity utilization also climbed from 11.9 to 16.2, its highest level since March 2011, the bank reported.

New orders dipped slightly from 6.2 to 5.4 in November but remained in growth territory, the seventh consecutive month of increased demand.

Optimism about their companies’ current business conditions climbed from 5.4 in October to 8.0 in November. Said one primary metals manufacturer: “We seem to be having a year-end rush for orders.”

Hiring at Texas manufacturers continued to grow, according to the survey. The November index was 5, moderating from October. Hours worked edged up from 3.9 in October to 4.2 in November , indicating a modest increase in the average workweek.

The survey reported upward pressure on prices and wages. The raw materials price index remained at 22.6, with just over one in four firms reporting an increase in input costs. The wages and benefits index dropped from 20.4 in October to 14.6 in November, showing some easing in wage pressures.

Looking ahead to the next six months, manufacturers in Texas expressed increased optimism for their own companies, with the index rising from 15.3 in October to 20.1 in November, and for general business conditions.

Said one wood products manufacturer: “Our company and the rest of ‘Small Business America’ seem to be gaining traction, despite the perceived lack of economic support from Washington.”

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