Growth in Tenth District manufacturing activity moderated slightly but remained generally solid overall, with a continued positive outlook for future months. Some producers said strong regional oil and gas activity, increased agricultural-related demand, and some pickup in construction activity has resulted in increased production, while others said high gas prices and lingering uncertainty were a slight drag on growth. Price indexes were mixed, with some increases in materials prices, although slightly fewer firms indicated plans to raise prices in the future.
Other month-over-month indexes were mixed in March but remained mostly solid. The production index dropped from 20 to 13, and the order backlog index also fell after rising last month. In contrast, the shipments and new order indexes both increased from 8 to 17, and employment index also edged higher. The raw materials inventory index decreased from 14 to 0, while the finished goods inventory index rose for the second straight month.
Price indexes were mixed. The month-over-month raw materials price index edged lower from 36 to 33, and the finished goods price index also fell. The year-over-year raw materials price index climbed from 57 to 71, while the finished goods price index was unchanged. The future raw materials price index rose from 54 to 65. However, the future finished goods price index eased slightly, indicating fewer firms plan to pass recent cost increases through to customers.
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