Manufacturing Activity in Central U.S. Stagnated in March for Second Consecutive Month
23 Março 2023 - 12:54PM
Dow Jones News
By Xavier Fontdegloria
Manufacturing activity in central U.S. was broadly stable in
March for the second month in a row, suggesting that the factory
sector continued to face headwinds amid weakening demand.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said Thursday that the
Tenth District manufacturing survey's composite index was unchanged
at zero in March, signaling that activity stalled over the
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected the index
to decline to minus 2.
The survey gauges manufacturing activity in the western third of
Missouri, all of Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Wyoming,
and the northern half of New Mexico.
Nondurable goods factories reported decreased activity,
especially printing, plastics and chemical manufacturing, while
activity among food manufacturers increased, the Kansas City Fed
The production index increased to 3 in March from minus 9 a
month earlier, signaling a marginal increase in output.
Demand for goods in the region continued to be subdued, the data
showed. The new orders index declined to minus 13 from minus 6,
while the shipments index rose to 6 from minus 13.
Despite weakening demand conditions, the employment index edged
up to 18 from 11, in a sign that firms continued to expand their
Prices pressures persisted, albeit at a much lower level than a
year ago. The index of prices paid for raw materials increased to
30 from 26, while the index of prices received for finished
products fell to 13 from 17.
"Given current price pressures, around half of firms reported
lower profit margins from the beginning of the year and changing
prices more frequently than last year," said Chad Wilkerson, senior
vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas
Firms were little optimistic about the short-term outlook. The
future composite index--which gauges the outlook in the next six
months--rose to 3 in March from 1 in February, with firms expecting
improvements in production, new orders and employment.
Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 23, 2023 11:39 ET (15:39 GMT)
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