Tenth District manufacturing slumped again in Oklahoma and other states


A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City stated that manufaturing activity in the Tenth District which includes Oklahoma fell again in April.

Chad Wilkerson, senior vice president at the bank said based on the survey of companies in the region, it appears expectations for future ativity remained flat.

Company leaders don’t expect improvements any time soon.

“Inflation is not under control. It has slowed but is going to bubble back up again, particularly in some key commodity inputs. Prices charged to customers will have to go up. Labor is hard, but there are more workers out there vs. two years ago. But, the quality is low. Lots of churn to get the folks you want to keep,” stated one company representative in response to the bank survey.

The Tenth Federal Reserve District covers the states of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wyoming; 43 counties inwestern Missouri; and 14 counties in northern New Mexico.

“Regional factory conditions declined again in April, marking its 19th consecutive month of flat or falling activity,” said Wilkerson. “Firms decreased capital expenditures slightly from this time last year as they continue to face margin compression.”

The survey found activity declined for both durable and nondurable goods with food, metals, electrical equipment and paper manufacturing driving the decreases. Production, volume of shipments, supplier delivery time, and material inventories fell further from last month, while declines in new orders and backlogs moderated.

This month contacts were asked special questions about workforce training and hiring priorities. Two thirds of firms have devoted more resources to training workers that do not meet skill requirements, with 24% devoting significantly more resources and 43% devoting slightly more.

“We are still having some supply issues and the same issues continue in finding productive, reliable workers,” responded one company official in the survey.

“We need good workers in low- and mid-level skill set. We just can’t find enough in our area. We currently have 9 positions open and are struggling finding the right skill level,” said another.

Additionally, 31% reported no change in the resources devoted to training and 2% devoted less resources. Firms were also asked about their biggest priority in hiring over the next six months. 41% reported hiring entry-level workers is their biggest priority, while 48% said mid-level workers, 8% said senior-level workers, and 3% of firms reported they are not hiring.