U.S. Texas manufacturing expands at slower pace in January: survey

By Gao Lu

HOUSTON, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Factory activity in the U.S. state of Texas continued to expand in January, albeit at a markedly slower pace, according to a survey released on Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

The Dallas Fed's latest Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey showed that the production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, fell from 26.8 to 4.6 this month, indicating a sharp deceleration in output growth.

According to business executives responding to the survey, other measures of manufacturing activity also pointed to more muted growth this month. The indexes of new orders, the growth rate of orders, capacity utilization and shipment all dropped in January.

Perceptions of broader business conditions continued to improve in January. The general business activity index and the company outlook index both remained in positive territory but retreated from last month. Uncertainty regarding companies' outlooks continued to rise.

The survey also found that labor market measures indicated slightly slower growth in employment and a continued increase in work hours. Price and wage indexes showed mixed movements but continued to reflect increases.

Expectations regarding future activity remained positive in January, though some key indexes weakened from their December readings. The future production index ticked down from 47.3 to 43.7, while the future general business activity index shot up 12 points to 29.6.

Data of this month's survey were collected between Jan. 12 and Jan. 20, and 111 Texas manufacturers responded to the survey. The Dallas Fed conducts the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey monthly to obtain a timely assessment of the state's factory activity.

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