KC Fed manufacturing activity slows

Tenth District manufacturing activity declined in November, according to a recent Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City survey.

Expectations for future manufacturing were mainly stagnant or slightly positive, according to the report. The composite index, an average of the indexes for production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time and raw materials, was -6 this month, similar to the -7 reading in October and down from 1 in September. 

“The slower pace in factory growth in November was driven by decreased activity in primary metals, plastics and rubber products, chemical, furniture and fabricated metals manufacturing,” the Fed stated.

Month-over-month indexes were mainly negative in November. The indexes for current and expected supplier delivery times reached record lows. Indexes for year-over-year factory activity slightly fell this month, and the composite index dropped five points to 19. The future composite index increased from -1 to 0 in November. Inventory indexes for production, employee workweeks and finished goods also moved into positive territory.

 The monthly index of raw materials prices continued to slow this month and was lower than a year ago. Price indexes for finished goods slightly increased from October and were higher than year-ago levels. Expectations for future raw materials and finished goods prices continued to fall. 

Forty-seven percent of firms expected to increase their head count over the next 12 months, while slightly fewer expected employment to remain the same. Seventy-one percent planned to add jobs because of an expected growth in sales, making it one of the top three factors driving employment plans.