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US manufacturing showing signs of slowing

November 15, 2018

The New York state manufacturing report released this morning by the Federal Research Bank of New York is one of the brighter spots among the manufacturing surveys provided by the Fed banks each month.  Manufacturers in the Empire State remain fairly optimistic in the six-month outlook as new orders continued to grow, business conditions improved, and employment levels increased.

The news is a little more disconcerting in the third, tenth and eleventh districts of the Federal Reserve. The states of Delaware and New Jersey, and the eastern half of Pennsylvania make up the third district and are served by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, which released its manufacturing survey results this morning as well. Indices remained positive for manufacturing in the Philadelphia-Delaware Bay region (see image below) but they continued to weaken on several counts.Federal Reserve Activity Indexes

In its most recent report, released Oct. 29, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, serving the eleventh district, found similar signs suggesting the pace of expansion is slowing for manufacturers in Texas. The finding were not all bad, however. The Texas manufacturing index was positive but declined by six points to 17.6 and shipments fell four points, while employment levels, workweek lengths and future optimism increased.

Manufacturers in the eleventh district, which comprises all of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming and portions of New Mexico and Missouri, also showed signs of slower growth in the October report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The month-over-month composite continued to fall for the fifth month in a row. Comments highlighted in the bank’s coverage of the survey findings include several from manufacturers in the region attributing their challenges to recent tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration.