Manufacturing activity rose slightly in November in a seven-state region that includes Kansas and part of Missouri. Companies signaled that a hiring pickup may be coming.
Data released Friday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City showed a reading of 7 on its manufacturing composite index for November, up from 6 in October and 2 in September. The index measures production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time and raw material inventories.
The Fed reported that the outlook for hiring was particularly strong, its highest since March 2012.
“Factory activity in our region continues to hum along at a moderate rate of growth,” Chad Wilkerson, a vice president and economist at the Kansas City Fed, said in the report.
He also noted that the “marked improvement in hiring plans was a nice development.”
Several factory managers who responded to the survey also seemed encouraged about hiring and overtime.
“We have been giving our employees a little overtime rather than hiring more employees,” one manager said.
Another respondent said management was “striving with some success to hire more code welders, metal fabricators and assembly people to build large compressor packages to transfer natural gas.”
Besides Kansas and the western part of Missouri, the Kansas City Fed monitors Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and the northern tip of New Mexico.