Falling energy prices and the West Coast port disruption contributed to a decline in regional manufacturing activity in March, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City reported Thursday.
The Kansas City Fed’s monthly manufacturing index registered a minus 4 this month, down from 1 in February and 3 in January. The index monitors production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time and raw materials inventories at manufacturing companies in a seven-state region that includes Kansas and the northern part of Missouri.
“We saw our first monthly decline in regional factory activity in over a year,” said Chad Wilkerson, a Kansas City Fed vice president and economist. “Some firms blamed the West Coast port disruptions, while producers of oil and gas-related equipment blamed low oil prices.”
Wilkerson said business expectations for the months ahead remain slightly positive.
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Besides Kansas and Missouri, the Kansas City Fed’s region covers Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and northern New Mexico.