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Fifth District Survey of Service Sector Activity

November 28, 2023

Fifth District service sector activity was flat in November, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The revenues index rose from −11 to 1, while the demand index edged down from 0 in October to −1 in November. Expectations indexes for future revenue and demand decreased, with the demand expectations index falling slightly into negative territory. Firms grew somewhat less pessimistic about local business conditions as that index increased from −15 in October to −9 in November. The index for expected local business conditions also increased, from −22 in October to −7 in November.

All three spending indexes decreased. Meanwhile all three spending expectations indexes stayed out of negative territory, suggesting that some firms expect to increase spending in the next six months.

The employment index fell from 15 in October to 2 in November, while firms continued to report wage increases and little change in their ability to find workers with the necessary skills. Over the next six months, many firms expect to continue hiring and anticipate some improvement in their ability to find workers with the necessary skills. Most firms plan to continue wage increases.

The average growth in prices paid and prices received decreased slightly in November. Firms expect both growth rates to moderate over the coming year.

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