Manufacturing activity fell in March in Oklahoma and neighboring states


Manufacturing activity in Oklahoma and other states that make up a Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City district didn’t fare well in March.

Chad Wilkerson, senior vice president at the Bank announced the bank’s latest manufacturing survey revealed manufacturing activity declined further in March and expectations for future activity were steady.

“Regional factory activity fell further in March, and expectations for future activity were again steady,” said Wilkerson. “Employment levels expanded modestly even as production and new orders contracted, and over half of firms have given mid-year wage increases recently but fewer plan to this year.”

The survey revealed activity for both durable and nondurable goods declined “modestly” with primary metal, electrical equipment and paper manufacturing “driving the decreases.” It also stated that production and volume of shipments decreased somewhat while both new orders and backlogs “fell sharply.”

On the positive side, the Federal bank survey found that employment levels continued to climb while the average employee workweek declined from two to eleven.

Here is what manufacturers are saying, according to the survey.

Selected Manufacturing Comments

“Continue to train new hires heavily using internal training program. Best solution for us given our rural location.”

“The supply chain, especially in truck chassis, continues to be a bottleneck.”

“The available labor pool appears to be growing. However, the quality of the candidates is still not as strong as we would like it to be.”

“2023 finished with much higher bookings and shipments than 2022, but orders in Q1 of 2024 have slowed substantially.”

“Labor availability and growing labor costs are our biggest concerns for curtailing growth.”

“High interest costs continue to hinder our performance. Margins are very low as we are not able to raise prices as much as costs have increased.”

“Hiring people is our greatest and most critical challenge. Educated employees want much more money than our range allows and want to work less. It all depends on the employee’s willingness to learn and adapt.”

“Product inputs, labor and general cost of doing business is going significantly up.”