Dallas Fed Confirms Economic Re-Contraction, Respondents Complain About "Record Low Margins"

Tyler Durden's picture

And following the continuing plunge in new homes for sale reported earlier, we get the second validation of the theory that the Q2 GDP is about to get the rug pulled from underneath it. The April Dallas manufacturing number came precisely at the borderline we expected earlier would mean an outright downgrade of Q2 economic data by Goldman, or 10.5%. Of note: The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, moved down from 24 to 8, suggesting slower growth in output." We thing the proper word is "plunged." This is as expected considering our long held assumption that the Japanese economic collapse is already impacting the US. In addition to production, other indicators that saw a collapse were volume of shipments, down 10.9 and the average employee workweeks, which tumbled by over 13. But at least Bernanke is getting his hyperinflation wet dream on: average wages increased by 4. Probably the most important index: prices paid, barely budged, printing at 56.6 compared to 57.2 last month. We are confident that Hatzius will have some very unpleasant words when commenting on this latest contractionary data point. As for the respondents, they confirmed that the bulk of the broader inflation is about to hit, as manufacturers can no longer internalize plunging margins. To wit: "From a cost
standpoint, commodity prices continue to increase, negatively impacting
material and delivery costs
. As a result, we are in the process of
taking a price increase to the market, which should occur in May" and "
Our sales are up,
but our cost of goods sold and the cost of diesel are keeping our
margins at record lows" and, FTW: "
Rapidly increasing costs and fuel costs have
shocked the consumer away from any nonmandatory spending."
Pretty much says it all.

From the Dallas Fed:

Sufrvey respondents:

Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing
We are very
encouraged by the breadth of activity with our cross section of
customers in the Dallas–Fort Worth area. It is not just a few companies
with increased requirements for plastic parts, but pretty much all of
our diverse customer base.

Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing
We have seen a
modest increase in demand with existing customers. We have also added
some new customers as a result of competitor failures. From a cost
standpoint, commodity prices continue to increase, negatively impacting
material and delivery costs
. As a result, we are in the process of
taking a price increase to the market, which should occur in May. Our
future expectations remain guardedly optimistic.

Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
Lead times for
machine tools made in Japan and Korea have increased
. We understand the
principal issue is the availability of castings for the machine tool
bodies. We assume our Korean castings supplier sources from Japan.

The recent Japan supply
chain disruption has increased concern for diversification in the
supply chain to minimize risk
. Higher transportation costs along with
the need to reduce cycle time favor manufacturing being close to the
distribution channel. This increases opportunity for North America
manufacturers. Increased manufacturing increases job creation.

The rate of improvement
and the actual improvement in volume of products shipped is only
forecasted to achieve production levels that are 50 percent of 2007
levels. We have 25 percent fewer manufacturing plants and 40 percent
fewer people than in 2007. As a result of previous investments in
efficiency improvements (technical systems and automation), we can
produce the same amount of products as we did in 2007 with vastly less

We have seen a slowdown
in awards of outstanding quotations from the first quarter. Our
backlog has been reduced to less than one month. Renewal of bank credit
facility remains very uncertain.

Machinery Manufacturing
The economy is still moving, but it remains shaky and unstable.

We are cautiously
optimistic. Activity levels are ticking up a little. We worry about the
impact inflation (energy and food) may have on the recovery and
consumer spending.

We continue to see
little change in the foodservice equipment market, new restaurant
openings or equipment replacements. The only real change that we see is
higher prices from almost all of our suppliers, especially for
stainless steel.

Chemical Manufacturing
If energy prices
stay the same or moderate a little, we believe we will see some
improvement in volumes over the next few months. A rapid increase in
prices from current levels will definitely have a dampening effect on
the markets
. In times of uncertainty, people and companies hold back on
expenditures, control inventories, etc.

Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing
Our industry has
hit another brick wall. Rapidly increasing costs and fuel costs have
shocked the consumer away from any nonmandatory spending
. They normally
adjust, but it may take several months.

Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing
Raw materials
(e.g., steel, tungsten) prices are rising exponentially, with an
anticipated leveling out at new highs around August or September of
this year. Our customers are unwilling to accept the increased pricing
from U.S. manufactured product and are turning to China, India and
Korea for cheaper prices.

Paper Manufacturing
Because of the
slower recovery of nondurable goods, business has remained flat. The
only positive coming out of this is that the expected price increase
this spring on containerboard is now off the table until July or August
at the earliest.

Food Manufacturing
Our sales are up,
but our cost of goods sold and the cost of diesel are keeping our
margins at record lows. A weak dollar does not help us. High commodity
prices also hurt us.

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Cindy_Dies_In_The_End's picture

We should all stand up at the same time and hold a sign that says "Well, DUH!!!" to the Fed.


Also Tyler, it is NOT Bernank's wet dream to see an increase in wages. If you read his scholarly articles, he kinda thinks the Great Depression did not end until wages FELL. So if that number is correct, that is not what he wants. Sticky wages are a problem.

NorthenSoul's picture

So very typical of those tenured-for-life (with pension indexed to inflation TYVM) economists to have this sticky prejudice against the wages of other people than themselves.

topcallingtroll's picture

This is where keynes comes in handy.
"Ya getting too disruptive about those wage decreases buddy. Here, have a nominal increase. It's on me"

thames222's picture

love keynesian theory...where is he now when we need him?



RobotTrader's picture

Obviously, its not affecting AAPL today, which is still green.  I guess the "resilient consumer" is anxiously awaiting the release of the white iPhone 4 at Best Buy on April 27.

Internet Tough Guy's picture

Food prices are already collapsing in L.A.
RobotTrader - Tue, Apr 12, 2011 - 10:14 PM

Yep, went to the MCD drive-through, where I usually order two McDoubles for a paltry $2.20.

But today, they announced a new special, two Big Macs for $3.25, so I took it.

Looks like the fast food joint are now front-running an all out collapse in food prices.

Harlequin001's picture

looks like a real good reason to buy bank stocks...

Alternatively I could find a really big grid to go stuff my money down, that would do the trick.

mworden's picture

supersize you. Meanwhile $3/lb 80% hamburger, $4 gas, $4 bread, $13/50lb chicken scratch, etc etc

boiltherich's picture

Where do you get hamburger for $3/lb?  I used to buy the 93/7% fat at Safeway till it hit 5 bucks a pound, the 80% is actually tastier though a bit messy, still $4.29 a pound. 

As to indexing wages to inflation, my COLA has not gone up since 2008 making 2011 the third year without a raise. 

jtmo3's picture

Ha, got ya beat. Try 5 years for me.

SheepDog-One's picture

'The markets are not pricing in QE3, the markets are pricing in a robust consumer-driven recovery'- RobotTrader

LawsofPhysics's picture

My margins have been collapsing since Ben started printing.  Nothing new here.

Cassandra Syndrome's picture

What are the cures for cognitive dissonance and normalcy bias? Short, sharp shock treatment to awake the masses? How bad does it have to get until most people accept that this 80 year old Keynesian experiment is fooked?

NorthenSoul's picture

What Keynesian experiment are you talking about?

Ever seen a governement cutting expenses and generate surplus during good times as Keynes himself insisted upon repeatedly?

No, right?

So...what are you talking about again?


cxl9's picture

For Keynes to have believed such a thing possible, given the observed nature of government, is at best silly and at worst criminally näive. Predictably, we got the "stimulus" (spending) half of the Keynesian prescription without the surplus (savings) half.

topcallingtroll's picture

Countercyclical spending to minimize recessions
Pro cyclical spending to gun the expansions.

Thats why we are where we are today.

Harlequin001's picture


Now I know why I'm not an economist...

dexter_morgan's picture

spend in recessions, spend in expansions, spend when it's sunny, spend when it's cloudy - basically spend ALL THE TIME

Cassandra Syndrome's picture

What am I talking about?


An obsession by his fanatical followers from Samuelson to Krugman to implement social choice on people using mathematical modelling through monetary and fiscal policies.

The dynamics of market forces made the depression of 1920-1921 mini. The government interference of hoover and worse still FDR under the watch of Keynes made the depression of 1929 to 1938 Great. It took a bloody war killing over 60 million people to bring it to an end.

They even got a term for it "Military Keynesianism"

Look at the global debt levels since the 1930s, its become mathematically impossible to service now, lets see them try and solve this mathematical conundrum.

dexter_morgan's picture

If Keynes was stupid enought to believe that governments would voluntarily do that then he was far stupider than I imagined........and I imagine him pretty damn stupid.

Rodent Freikorps's picture

Ideologues are rarely concerned with boots on the ground reality.

Mpizzie's picture

Anarchy and communism both look equally appealing - until you see my neighbors down the street.

ivars's picture

Bad time to start tightening, but, as easing has not worked, what else to do?

NotApplicable's picture

I'm hungry. Who's gonna buy me lunch?

BlackholeDivestment's picture

Does the looser buy lunch? ...or is the looser the buyer and the consumer in Chairsatan's world of market Zombie Wonders?

The 666 tramp stamp tatoo; is it not permanent, and there is no washing it off, once we accept the seal of the beast? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPvuKX7tI-E Could it beeee .....Chairsatan is serving his own ass and U.S. all as lunch? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfwFpRnOeGg 

BlackholeDivestment's picture

P.S. ZORG has another anthrax (via CroweAtBioPort) letter, I bet you lunch? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjLO_CrZRmM


NorthenSoul's picture

Financialization of the economy and the hijacking of the political debte away from jobs toward the "gotta balance the budget" (you mean "Right Now or Die"??)  are sucking dry the needed capital for infrastructure restauration and long term investments. All this cannot do anything else than deprive consumers of their means to gain purchasing power, save, of course, for the minority who benefit from the financialization.

Sancho Ponzi's picture

What would you do to stimulate job growth and capital investment?

cxl9's picture

1. Eliminate 90% of government. Most government jobs are nothing but welfare.

2. Close the law schools for a generation. We have enough lawyers.

3. Prosecute the blatant and pervasive fraud in the financial community. Same laws for all. Now enforce them.

4. Scrap the whole tax code and replace it with a citizen head tax. Everyone pays the same thing. Raise taxes for one, you raise them for all.

5. Eliminate the laughable idea of a debt-based currency and replace it with honest money.


Kickaha's picture

"infrastructure restauration"

Only when the supply of iPads have been consumed should we crush our infrastructure and serve it up in restaurants.

slewie the pi-rat's picture

the infrastructure is toast, BiCHeZ.

now, would you like fries with that?  any cheeZe?  how about a tofu tomatoe-banana slurpee?  with pine nutz?

mberry8870's picture

Imagine how bad this would be if people were feeling the full effect of the increase in gas prices. The payroll tax holiday has pretty much offset that increase (all while increasing our debt!). We are so screwed.

jkruffin's picture

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slewie the pi-rat's picture

and poker is freaking illegal, now?  it is a wonderful game of skill and nash disequilibria resulting, like in america itself, in everybody losing, or at least ending up dead. 

too keynesian?

mberry8870's picture

Imagine how bad this would be if people were feeling the full effect of the increase in gas prices. The payroll tax holiday has pretty much offset that increase (all while increasing our debt!). We are so screwed.

Hansel's picture

Wow, a nonuple post!  Congratulations on the impatient retardation.

mberry8870's picture

Yeah just imagine if the damned site didn't ask me 9 math questions? All of which we answered correctly. Good guess though.

mberry8870's picture

Imagine how bad this would be if people were feeling the full effect of the increase in gas prices. The payroll tax holiday has pretty much offset that increase (all while increasing our debt!). We are so screwed.

Hondo's picture

Record low???  We went from record high to record low in a nano-second???

MarcusAurelius's picture

So all I ask is ......are high commodity prices here to stay? It would seem that they are on the verge of doing what they always do in these scenarios. Deflating.

shushup's picture

And once more - NO BODY CARES! Unfortunately.

AC_Doctor's picture

But ole Uncle Barry said we were having green shoots?

smithcreek's picture

Green shoots.  They sure gave up on that phrase pretty fast, haven't heard that in a while.  For the past year and a half we've been in the "as we begin to come out of this recession stage".  I'm amazed they can get away with that one for so long.  Then again, when the fucking joke of a pres we have can introduce the phrase "jobs saved or created" without being laughed out of office nothing surprises me much.

Dr. Porkchop's picture

It's the 'ongoing recovery'. Just like the 'Global War on Terror'. Empty phrases that can mean anything.

Worker Bee's picture

Barry misread the tele-prompter. He was supposed to say Green sharts.

SheepDog-One's picture

Unfortunately all the green shoots were just poison ivy.

digitlman's picture

Imagine if you posted the same thing 7 times...