Five out of the twelve Federal Reserve Regional Districts currently publish monthly data on regional manufacturing: Dallas, Kansas City, New York, Richmond, and Philadelphia.
Regional manufacturing surveys are a measure of local economic health and are used as a representative for the larger national manufacturing health. They have been used as a signal for business uncertainty and economic activity as a whole. Manufacturing makes up 12% of the country’s GDP.
The other 6 Federal Reserve Districts do not publish manufacturing data. For these, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book offers a short summary of each districts’ manufacturing health. The Chicago Fed published their Midwest Manufacturing Index from July 1996 through December of 2013. According to their website, “The Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index (CFMMI) is undergoing a process of data and methodology revision. In December 2013, the monthly release of the CFMMI was suspended pending the release of updated benchmark data from the U.S. Census Bureau and a period of model verification. Significant revisions in the history of the CFMMI are anticipated.”
Here is a three-month moving average overlay of each of the five indicators since 2001 (for those with data). The latest average of the five for October is 21.2, up from the previous month’s 17.8.
Here is the same chart including the average of the five. Readers will notice the range in expansion and contraction between all regions.
For comparison, here is the latest ISM Manufacturing survey.