Blame it on the weather.
Frigid temperatures, layers of ice and lots of snow in February were the main culprits behind the tepid growth in manufacturing activity in a seven-state area that includes Kansas and the northern half of Missouri, according to a report Thursday from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
The Fed’s monthly manufacturing index had a reading of 4 in February, down from 5 in January and up from -3 in December. The index measures production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time and raw material inventories.
While the monthly gauge was in positive territory, many businesses reported delays and slowdowns because of severe winter weather.
“The story in February was similar to January,” said Chad Wilkerson, a vice president and economist at the Kansas City Fed. “Regional factory activity was held back somewhat by unusually harsh weather but still managed to grow modestly.”
Wilkerson also said the outlook for manufacturing growth in the region over the next several months “moderated somewhat (but) remained at solid levels overall.”
The other states in the Kansas City Fed’s district are Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and the northern part of New Mexico.