The March manufacturing index for the region of the country served by the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank fell slightly in March to 9, down from 13 in February and up from 7 in January. Any reading above zero indicates growth. The bank’s economist said:
Factory activity in our region grew solidly in March but the pace slowed slightly from February, which firms blamed on rising gasoline prices. Expectations for future manufacturing activity also were slightly lower than last month but still higher than in late 2011 and indicative of continued solid growth.
The future composite index fell from 20 in February to 18 in March and future production, shipments, and order backlog indexes also fell slightly. Expectations for future capital spending rose, and only the raw materials inventory index fell into negative territory.