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The Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey (TMOS) is a monthly survey of area manufacturers. Firm executives report on how business conditions have changed for a number of indicators, such as production, new orders, employment, prices and company outlook. Respondents are also asked to report on how they perceive broader economic conditions to have changed (general business activity). For all questions, participants are asked whether the indicator has increased, decreased or remained unchanged. Answers cover changes over the previous month and expectations for activity six months into the future. Participants are given the opportunity to submit comments on current issues that may be affecting their business.
About 100 manufacturers regularly participate in TMOS, which began collecting data in mid-2004. Respondents are broadly representative of manufacturing subsectors in the state economy. TMOS questionnaires are electronically transmitted to respondents in the middle of each month, and answers are collected over seven business days.
Survey responses are used to calculate an index for each indicator. Each index is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents reporting a decrease from the percentage reporting an increase. When the share of firms reporting an increase exceeds the share of firms reporting a decrease, the index will be greater than zero, suggesting the indicator has increased over the prior month. If the share of firms reporting a decrease exceeds the share reporting an increase, the index will be below zero, suggesting the indicator has decreased over the prior month. An index will be zero when the number of firms reporting an increase is equal to the number of firms reporting a decrease. Indexes are seasonally adjusted as needed.