UPDATE:Manufacturing activity in the Midwest continued to expand in March, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City shows.
The key index measuring the manufacturing sector declined four points to nine in March, below consensus estimates for an unchanged reading. In January the composite index came in at seven.
Respondents to the Fed’s survey said there was some pickup in construction and agriculture in the region, which includes seven states, but high crude prices weighed on growth.
“Factory activity in our region grew solidly in March but the pace slowed slightly from February, which firms blamed on rising gasoline prices” said Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Expectations for future manufacturing activity also were slightly lower than last month but still higher than in late 2011 and indicative of continued solid growth.”
The employment sub-index moved marginally higher during the month, registering at 12. The average work week also improved, reversing a negative report last month and moving to two.
Below, a look at monthly readings of the main index.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is minutes away from releasing its monthly survey of manufacturers, a key gauge of activity in the Midwest.
Economists polled by Bloomberg forecast the main index monitoring business in the tenth federal district will remain unchanged at 13. The report covers Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, northern New Mexico, and western Missouri.
Recently, a number of district reports have shown slight weakness, with both the Federal Reserve banks of Dallas and Richmond seeing modest declines.
The announcement is scheduled for release at 10:00 a.m. Follow the report live on Money Game.