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Manufacturing activity in KC Fed district declines modestly in April

Activity in the Federal Reserve’s 10th District has declined slightly, according to the April manufacturing survey released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City on Thursday.

The minimal declines came in contrast to an improved outlook from producers for future activity, according to the survey.

“Factories reported a modest decline in activity in April,” said Chad Wilkerson, a economist at the Kansas City Fed, in a news release. “But expectations for future activity increased to their highest reading of the year.”

A slight improvement was seen in April in the production of non-durable goods, particularly for food, paper and plastics products, according to the survey. Production of metals and machinery, according to the survey, remained negative, the survey said.

The month-over-month composite index for the district was -4 in April, up slightly from -6 in March. The index is an average of the production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time, and raw materials inventory indexes.

The future composite for the district, however, jumped from -2 to 10 in April, its highest level in more than a year, according to the survey.

In selected anonymous comments from district manufacturers included in the survey, a downturn in oil and gas industry goods orders contributed to the soft numbers for April.

The district includes Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, the western third of Missouri and the northern half of New Mexico.

A summary of the April survey can be found at www.kansascityfed.org/research/indicatorsdata/mfg.

Bryan Horwath: 316-269-6708, @bryan_horwath

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