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KC Fed: Manufacturing activity down, services up in March

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(The Center Square) – Manufacturing activity declined last month in the Federal Reserve’s 10th District, while services activity increased, according to surveys from the bank’s Kansas City branch.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s 10th District covers Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Wyoming, and parts of New Mexico and Missouri.

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The bank’s composite index for manufacturing in March was -7. The index for February was -4 and -9 in January. The composite index measures several other indexes such as production, employment, and raw materials inventory.

“Regional factory activity fell further in March, and expectations for future activity were again steady,” Chad Wilkerson, senior vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, said in a statement. “Employment levels expanded modestly even as production and new orders contracted, and over half of firms have given mid-year wage increases recently but fewer plan to this year.”

Despite the drop in activity, “expectations for future activity were again steady,” according to the KC Fed. The future composite index in March was 1, which is down from 2 in February.

In service-related industries, activity grew in the district last month, but “expectations for future activity were flat.”

“District services activity increased moderately in March, and expectations for future activity were steady,” Wilkerson said. “Sales growth cooled this month, but employment accelerated.”

The services index, which averages revenue/sales, employment and inventory indexes, for March was 7, which was down from February (12), but up from January (-2).

“The growth was driven primarily by increased revenues in professional services, restaurants, and auto dealers,” KC Fed said.