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Carolinas Survey of Business Activity

January 26, 2023

Firms in the Carolinas continued to report soft business activity in January, according to the most recent survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The general business conditions index fell from −13 in December to −14 in January. Firms remained pessimistic about conditions over the next six months as the general business conditions expectations index was solidly negative, despite some improvement in January.

The sales index increased modestly from −19 in December to −14 in January. The index measuring expected sales, however, improved noticeably to 12 in January. The indexes for spending declined across the board, with the index for total capital expenditures decreasing the most from 17 in December to 2 in January.

Survey results suggest that more firms increased employment in January, as the employment index increased to 0 from −5 in December. The wages index both increased notably and remained high. Most firms expected wages to continue increasing over the near-term. Firms reported some improvement in their ability to find workers with the desired skills in January, although the index remained low.

The average year-over-year growth in prices paid and prices received decreased in January. Firms expected price growth to further moderate over the next year.

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