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Surveys of Business Conditions

May 23, 2023

Fifth District manufacturing firms reported deterioration in business conditions in May, according to the most recent survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The composite manufacturing index fell from −10 in April to −15 in May. Two of its three component indexes — shipments and new orders — declined. The shipments index dropped from −7 in April to −13 in May, while the new orders index fell from −20 to −29. The employment index, however, rose slightly from 0 in April to 5 in May.

Firms remained pessimistic about local business conditions, as the index fell to −27 in May. Furthermore, the expectations index for future local business conditions fell to −16.

Many firms continued to report reductions in orders backlogs and vendor lead time as these indexes remained negative.

The average growth rate of prices paid decreased notably, while the average growth rate of prices received edged down slightly in May. Firms expect both growth rates to moderate over the next 12 months.

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