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Texas factory activity strengthened in January, Dallas Fed says


The following ran in the Jan. 31, 2012, edition of the Dallas Morning News. Economist Bernard Weinstein contributed expertise for this story.

January 31, 2012

By Brendan Case

Texas factory activity picked up in January after a couple of weak months, and perceptions of general business activity rose to the highest level in nearly a year, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said Monday.

The production index of the Dallas Fed’s monthly manufacturing survey rose to 5.8 from a revised level of 0.2 last month. The increase brought the index most of the way back to its October level.

The general business activity index, a gauge of broader economic conditions, jumped to 15.3 after a negative reading in December.

The January level was the index’s highest since February of last year.

Positive readings in the survey generally indicate expansion, while negative readings generally indicate contraction....

“Our manufacturing sector weakened a bit in the last quarter, as it did nationally,” said Bernard Weinstein, an economist with Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business. “This year, if you look at some of our key manufacturing sectors, transportation equipment should have a good year. Oilfield equipment should be doing pretty well.”...