Texas manufacturing shows signs of improvement

Texas manufacturing is looking up.

A new survey indicates that manufacturing in Texas is turning around. 

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey, general business activity improved 2.4 points, moving from -7.0 to -4.6 in July.

One CNC machinist, who was anonymously quoted in the survey, is seeing the improvement first-hand.

"Orders continue to be steady with new customers and a few current customers creating increased volume. Only a few customers are forecasting lower volume," the machinist said.

The bank gathers its information by surveying 112 Texas manufacturers and machine shops that produce a wide array of products. Positive numbers indicate expansion while negative ones signal contraction.

While July's general business numbers are still negative, the upward trend is a positive sign for the industry, signifying that improvement will come in the near future. Other values in the survey supported the positive outlook. 

The manufacturing index showed significant signs of improvement, leaping from -6.5 in June to -1.9 in July. In May, this was down to -13.5, the lowest number for the category since the same month of 2009. Capacity utilization inched upward to -4.2 from -4.3. The order growth rate jumped up 11 points to -5.2 from -16.5.

One of the best signs was the growth of new orders, which moved into the positive for the first time in six months with a 0.7 reading in July. 

One fabricated metal manufacturer was frank about the conditions in the previous two months, but sees improvement down the road.

"Our revenue stream was significantly impacted by the May and June rains in the regions we serve. We have seen some recovery in July … a result of previously postponed projects finally coming to completion," the manufacturer said. "Our six-month outlook for oil and gas exploration and production industry activity remains stable."