March Fed: Regional Manufacturing Numbers Show Continued Industry Growth

Looking back on March manufacturing trends, the industry was growing nationally, just at a slower rate. For those interested in the nation’s smaller geographic regions, however, that trend did — and also did not — hold true. See what changed and what those changes could mean for manufacturers nationwide and in the five federal districts that report on manufacturing data.

  • Philadelphia — Like the national trend, manufacturing in the Philadelphia district dropped from February’s 25.8 to 22.3 in March. Although growth is slowing, analysts expect overall growth will continue. This optimism is due, in part, to new orders improving by 11 points, from 24.5 to 35.7, and shipments moving up 17 points, from 15.5 to 32.4.
  • Empire — A departure from the country’s overall slowing growth, the Empire State Index leapt from 13.1 in February to 22.5 in March. While analysts expected the index to only reach 15, the index showed signs of fast growth and improving manufacturing conditions in the region. Like the Philadelphia Fed, shipments also increased in the Empire State, from 14.5 to 27, and new orders went up from 13.5 to 16.8.
  • Dallas — Similar to Philadelphia and the nation, Texas manufacturing also continued growing at a slower pace last month. In March, the index dropped to 12.7, a 15.2-point loss from February’s 27.9 reading. While all indexes other than the prices manufacturers paid for raw materials decreased, the overall index “remained above its 2017 average and well above its post-recession average,” so optimism in the region remains high.
  • Richmond — Continuing Dallas, Philadelphia, and national trends, the Richmond Fed also decreased overall, from 28 in February to 15 in March, but is still showing signs of growth. As in Dallas’ case, many indexes dropped in Richmond in March. In Richmond, the two exceptions included a slight increase in the availability of skills needed, which remained negative, and prices manufacturers paid.
  • Kansas City — A break from all trends previously mentioned, the Kansas City Fed held strong in March, meeting February’s reading of 17. Similarly, its individual indexes remained more or less steady with a mix of increases and decreases leading to the overall stable regional number.

Many of these reporting Federal Reserve districts saw such results because of the effects of newly imposed tariffs. How tariffs will affect national and regional numbers in the next month and beyond remains to be seen, but the industry looks to remain strong with regional indexes reporting growth — whether increasing at a slower rate, holding strong, or increasing.

As manufacturing keeps growing regionally and nationally, you can always count on the professionals at Global Electronic Services. Contact us for all your industrial electronic, servo motor, AC and DC motor, hydraulic, and pneumatic needs — and don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook!

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