Manufacturing a bright spot for West Tennessee

Posted on March 15, 2013

Economic activity in the Eighth District expanded from mid-January through early March at a moderate pace, according to the latest Federal Reserve Beige Book, compared to activity in its previous report.

Reports of planned activity in manufacturing have been positive in the Eighth District, which encompasses Memphis and the Mid-South, the Fed reported. You can find a lot more information about local manufacturing in Memphis Business Journal’s March 15-21 print edition.

Several manufacturing firms reported plans to add workers and expand operations in the district, while fewer manufacturers reported plans to lay off workers or reduce operations.

Expansion and new manufacturing hiring is planned in the steel, automobile, appliance, furniture, automobile parts, plastics, wood products, lumber, beverage and machinery industries, according to the Beige Book.

However, firms that manufacture solar equipment, medical devices, food and electric components announced plans to lay off workers.

Manufacturing output decreased 0.4 percent in January after having risen 1.1 percent in December; the level of output in January was still 1.7 percent higher than a year ago, The Fed reported.

On a national level, manufacturing output and capacity trended down slightly in January 2013, although some sectors rose and full-year projections remain positive. Total industrial capacity is projected to rise 2.1 percent in 2013 after having increased 1.5 percent in 2012. Manufacturing capacity is also estimated to advance 2.1 percent for the year after gaining 1.4 percent in 2012.

Terry Hollahan, Memphis Business Journal.