A third regional Federal Reserve factory gauge picked up in February, adding to signs that manufacturing had been stabilizing before the coronavirus outbreak intensified beyond China.
The Dallas Fed’s gauge of manufacturing in Texas signaled expansion for the fist time in five months, rising to 1.2 from a reading of minus 0.2 in January, according to a report Monday. That exceeded estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists that had called for a reading of zero, the dividing line between expansion and contraction.
The report followed data last week from the Philadelphia Fed, which said last week that its business outlook gauge surged this month to a three-year high of 36.7 as orders and shipments gained. Also last week, the New York Fed said its measure of manufacturing in the state accelerated in February to 12.9, the highest level since May and also reflecting stronger readings on orders and shipments.
The composition of the Dallas survey conducted Feb. 11–19 was more mixed, with measures of new orders and order growth both cooling while the gauge of production climbed to a six-month high. Labor market indexes suggested flat employment levels and slightly longer work weeks, according to the report.
Two more Fed factory gauges are due this week: Richmond’s measure is forecast to post a decline on Tuesday while Kansas City’s is seen signaling an eighth month of contraction on Thursday.