Yet another advance report, in yet another contrast with definitive data, is showing significant strength. Readings are very positive in the Dallas Fed February report including a nearly 5 point gain in production to a very strong 16.7 and a nearly 2-1/2 point gain for general activity to 24.5.
New orders, however, slowed by just more than 4 points to what is a still solid 11.6. Delivery times are taking longer and inventories of inputs are higher, both positive indications of demand. Input costs are up with wage growth solid. Selling prices are even showing traction.
This report may be getting a general lift from easy comparisons as the Dallas factory region is just emerging from 2 years of energy-related weakness. But the wider risk for anecdotal surveys like this one is that, in their low key methodology where respondents often offer general, not numerical, answers to questions, they are picking up improvement in sentiment as opposed to actual measurable improvement in dollars or volumes.