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Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Activity Continues to Expand

Published Oct 31, 2019 by Maggie Martin


Manufacturing activity in Texas continues to grow, but is starting to slow down. That’s according to the latest Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. 

The survey, released earlier this week, concluded that while factory activity continued to expand this month, it did so at a “markedly slower pace.” The survey noted the production index, an important measure of manufacturing conditions in the state, fell nine points “suggesting a moderation in output growth in October.”

Other measurements taken into account included new orders, growth rate of orders and perceptions of broader business conditions. 

The survey also noted the manufacturing sector’s job growth, which fell in October, but remains positive. 

110 Texas manufacturers responded to the Dallas Fed’s survey over a 7-day period. 

Survey respondents were also given an opportunity to comment on the challenges and opportunities they’re facing. While many expressed concerns with the current tariffs imposed on the industry, one respondent in computer and electronic product manufacturing reported trade deals were helping their customers and bottom line. 

Houston’s manufacturing sector has a strong command in Houston employment and trade.  

According to the Greater Houston Partnership's 2019 Houston Facts report, the nearly 6,400 manufacturing establishments in the Houston region employed over 224,000 people last year. That’s about 1 in 13 Houston-area workers in the manufacturing industry, or nearly 8% of total employment in Houston last year.

More than 2,500 Houston manufacturing firms engage in global trade; sourcing materials from overseas, selling their products abroad, or both, according to the Partnership's 2019 Global Houston report. The value of goods manufactured in metro Houston topped almost $83B in 2017 and accounted for nearly 17% of the region’s total GDP. 

Over the past decade, at least 517 foreign-owned companies have announced plans to invest in Houston. Manufacturing owns a large share of that with nearly 260 foreign direct investments in Houston stemming from manufacturing in the past 10 years. 

Notable employers in this industry in Houston include General Electric, Toshiba International Corporation, JSW Steel and Technip FMC.

The Greater Houston Partnership hosted the 2019 Manufacturing Industry Forum earlier this month, where Rich Wells, Chair of the Partnership's Manufacturing & Logistics Committee, presented findings from an industry survey on the state of manufacturing in Houston.

See the Dallas Fed's Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. Learn more about the greater Houston region’s advanced manufacturing space. 

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