Regional Manufacturing Outlook
Wednesday | 13 April, 2016 | 1:06 pm

Gulf states

Growth decelerates in oil dependent areas

MM 0416 regional lead2Employment indexes in the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey and Texas Service Sector Outlook Survey, conducted by the Federal Reserve’s Dallas district bankers, declined in February. The move suggests a steeper decline in manufacturing employment and weaker job growth in services. 

The labor market remains tight overall, but slack has risen in oil-dependent regions. The Texas employment growth forecast for 2016 has weakened, and low oil prices and a strong dollar remain downside risks. Although the construction sector added jobs at a brisk 3.1 percent rate in 2015, it lost jobs in January. Construction contract values declined, too. 

The Texas manufacturing production index for February came in at -8.5. Activity in the energy sector remains weak. Business bankruptcies accelerated in energy-intensive areas as well as in less-energy-dependent metros such as Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth. The tight link between energy dependence and the growth rate in bankruptcies points to increased financial stress from the energy sector contraction. Pessimism deepened among survey respondents.

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