Texas business activity increased for the ninth straight month in January, according to a Dallas Federal Reserve Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey released today.
The monthly survey asks about 100 Texas manufacturers to rate their views on current and future business activity. Market watchers keep a close eye on this index, as Texas' manufacturing can serve as an important indicator of national economic health. A positive number indicates month-over-month growth, while a negative number means contraction.
After clocking in at 3.7 for December, this month's report puts business activity at a slightly stronger growth rate of 3.8. Analysts were still slightly disappointed, however, having expected a boost up to 5 points.
The Dallas Fed's production index also rose 1.1 points to 7.1 for January.
Taking a closer look at the index's components, new orders made an impressive 13.1 point jump to 14.4, putting future expectations in solid growth territory. Businesses seem to be investing more as well, with a 1.2 point increase in employment to 8.6 and a 4.5 point "hours worked" addition to put workweeks in expansion at 3.4 points total.
Looking ahead, the index for future (six months from now) business activity edged down a slight 2.5 points to 22.3, while the future production index fell 4 points to 49.6. Still, at these numbers, expectations remain optimistic for business and manufacturing.