Manufacturing activity in the Plains states was nearly flat in January, while expectations for future activity expanded, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The month-to-month composite index was -1 in January, slightly higher than -5 in December. Most month-to-month indexes remained slightly negative in January, and inventories continued to decline. However, the month-to-month employment index rose back into positive territory for the first time in more than six months, and the supplier delivery time index also was slightly positive. The future composite index grew from 9 to 14 in January.
Contacts reported slightly less difficulty finding workers than six months ago, but still over 60% of firms experienced labor shortages.