Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (03/30/2015)
Texas factory activity declined in March, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index fell to -5.2, posting its first negative reading in nearly two years. Meanwhile, the new orders index pushed further into negative territory, coming in at -16.1, and the growth rate of orders index remained negative for a fifth consecutive month but edged up to -15.3 in March. The shipments and capacity utilization indexes slipped to more negative readings, -8.7 and -6.4, respectively.
Labor market indicators reflected slight employment declines and shorter work weeks. The March employment index dipped to -1.8, its first negative reading since May 2013. Thirteen percent of firms reported net hiring, compared with 14% reporting net layoffs. The hours worked index has been gradually declining for six months and came in at -5.3 in March, down from -1.6 in February.