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Surveys of Business Conditions

May 25, 2023

Firms in the Carolinas reported softened business activity in May, according to the most recent survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The general business conditions index fell from −5 in April to −12 in May. The corresponding expectations index fell notably from 1 to −16.

The sales index declined substantially to −6, as did the index measuring expected sales, which fell to 1. On the other hand, all three spending indexes rose and were positive, with the index for equipment or software expenditures rising the most, from 3 in April to 15 in May.

Survey results suggested that some firms increased employment in May, as the employment index increased to 16. The wages index decreased notably but remained high. Firms expected wages to continue increasing over the near-term and anticipated some improvement in their ability to find workers with the desired skills over the next six months.

The average year-over-year growth in prices paid edged down in May, while the average growth in prices received increased slightly. Firms expect price growth to moderate over the next year.

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