Manufacturing & The Economy
Texas factory activity edged up in December, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose from 1.7 to 2.7, which is consistent with slow growth.
Most other survey measures also indicated manufacturing activity crept up in December. The capacity utilization index returned to positive territory with a reading of 1.8, implying utilization rates ticked up from last month. The shipments index jumped to 11.3 after a reading near zero last month. The new orders index, however, remained near zero, suggesting demand was flat in December.
Perceptions of broader business conditions improved markedly in December. The general business activity index emerged from negative territory, rising sharply to 6.8 as a result of a drop in the share of contacts reporting that conditions worsened. The company outlook index also turned positive, jumping 14 points to 9.2, its best reading since March.