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Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity

April 23, 2024

Fifth District manufacturing activity remained slow in April, according to the most recent survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The composite manufacturing index increased from −11 in March to −7 in April. Of its three component indexes, shipments increased from −14 to −10, new orders increased from −17 to −9, and employment fell from 0 to −2.

Firms were more optimistic about local business conditions, as the index increased from −1 to 6. The index for future local business conditions also increased, from 12 in March to 16 in April. The future indexes for shipments and new orders rose notably in April, suggesting that firms expect improvements in these areas over the next six months.

Firms continued to report declining backlogs and vendor lead times in April, as those indexes increased but remained negative. The capacity utilization index rose from −21 to −5.

The average growth rate of prices paid decreased in April, while the average growth rate of prices received edged up slightly. Firms expect little change in these growth rates over the next 12 months.

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