April manufacturing activity dropped in KC Fed

Tenth District manufacturing activity fell in April even as expectations for future activity remained positive, according to a recent Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City survey. 

The monthly composite index was -10, down from 0 in March and February, a gauge of contraction in the production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time and raw materials indexes, according to the survey. The Fed attributed the decrease to drops to nondurable goods plants — paper, plastics, printing and food manufacturing. All month-over-month indexes fell, except for supplier delivery times, average employee workweek and finished product and raw materials prices.

 “Price indexes increased versus last month but decreased from the previous year and are not expected to change significantly over the next six months,” wrote the report’s authors, Federal Reserve Senior Vice President Chad Wilkerson, Research Associate Chase Farha and Senior Survey Analyst Jannety Mosley. 

The annual composite index dropped eight points to -2, as all indexes fell except for materials inventory and capital expenditures segments. The future composite index remained at 3 last month, while expectations for activity over the next six months remained similar to March, except for a drop in expected materials inventory and an uptick in supply delivery times, which registered a positive reading for the first time in six months.  

“A majority of firms reported the number of job openings has stayed the same or changed only slightly from the beginning of the year,” the Fed stated. “Additionally, most firms that have sought financing for desired short-term uses have reported no difficulty obtaining credit.”