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.
Besides Kansas and Missouri, the Kansas City Fed’s region covers Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and northern New Mexico.