Oklahoma manufacturing activity slowdown follows national trend

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The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City released the April Manufacturing Survey showing a slight drop in activity in Oklahoma and the other states that make up the district, a movement that echoed what happened nationally.

The announcement came on the same day that the U.S. Commerce Department revealed the nation’s economy shrank in the first quarter.

The U.S. gross domestic product declined at a 1.4% annual rate ,marking a reversal from the 6.9% annual growth rate in the fourth quarter. The first quarter proved to be the weakest since the spring of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns hit the U.S. and the world.

According to Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the survey revealed that growth in Tenth District manufacturing activity eased slightly, and expectations for future activity remained solid.

“The pace of regional factory growth eased somewhat but remained strong,” said Wilkerson. “Firms continued to report issues with higher input prices, increased supply chain disruptions, and labor shortages. However, firms were optimistic about future activity and reported little impact from higher interest rates.”

Some of the responses to the manufacturing survey included:

“Impacts of inflation on costs for materials is HUGE and getting worse – not getting better. Supply of materials still tough. Lead times still very long.”

“Increased production and new product development require more staffing. Low unemployment makes the jobs hard to fill.”

“Uptick in business and employees retiring or leaving for other opportunities.”

“We are seeing a lot of job hopping and a labor shortage.”

“Greater customer demand and turnover in personnel.”

“White collar positions getting filled. Struggling to find blue collar people.”

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