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Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Survey for October (Text)

Following is the text from the Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Survey.

Tenth District manufacturing activity declined slightly in October, and producers’ expectations for future activity fell considerably but remained slightly positive. Several producers commented on growing uncertainty related to the upcoming election and fiscal situation, which has put a hold on many customers’ orders and spending. Price indexes were mixed, with minimal changes overall.

The month-over-month composite index was -4 in October, down from 2 in September and 8 in August, and the lowest in over three years (Tables 1 & 2, Chart). The composite index is an average of the production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time, and raw materials inventory indexes. Manufacturing slowed at most durable- and nondurable goods-producing plants, particularly among producers of machinery and electronic equipment. Most other month-over-month indexes also fell in October. The production index eased further from -4 to - 6, and the new orders and order backlog indexes also declined. The employment index moved into negative territory for the first time this year, while the shipments index inched higher but still remained negative. The raw materials inventory index decreased from 7 to 2, but the finished goods inventory index was unchanged.

Most year-over-year factory indexes were stable or slightly higher than last month. The composite year-over-year index was unchanged at 11, while the production, shipments, and new orders indexes improved somewhat. The order backlog index moved back into positive territory, and the capital expenditures index edged up from 17 to 18. The new orders for exports index rose slightly, while the employment index eased for the second straight month. The raw materials inventory index fell from 11 to 5, and the finished goods inventory index also decreased.

After several months of generally favorable outlooks, most future factory indexes weakened considerably in October. The future composite index dropped from 16 to 3, and the future production, shipments, and order backlog indexes also decreased. The future new orders index posted its lowest level since May of 2009, and the future employment index dropped to a three-year low. In contrast, the future capital expenditures index increased after falling for two straight months. The future raw materials inventory index declined from 9 to -5, and the finished goods inventory index also fell.

Price indexes were mixed, with little change in most indexes. The month-over-month finished goods price index inched higher from 5 to 8, while the raw materials price index decreased for the first time in three months. The year-over-year raw materials index stayed flat at 60, but the finished goods index fell from 35 to 30. The future raw materials price index rose slightly, while the future finished goods price index edged lower, indicating fewer firms plan to pass recent cost increases through to customers.

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