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Carolinas Survey of Business Activity

September 29, 2022

Firms in the Carolinas reported little improvement in economic activity in September, according to the most recent survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The general business conditions index rose from −14 in August to −7 in September and firms were slightly less pessimistic about future business conditions as the expectations index rose from −22 to −17.

The sales index saw a moderate increase, from −4 in August to 6 in September. The index measuring expected sales also improved slightly, moving further into positive territory. While the business services expenditures and equipment or software expenditures indexes increased, the total capital expenditures index fell slightly in September.

Survey results suggest that the pace of employment increases edged down in September, as the employment index fell slightly to 16. The wages index, on the other hand, remained high and edged up to 37 in September. Most firms also expected wages to continue increasing over the near-term. More firms reported increased difficulty finding skilled labor in September and have grown more pessimistic that finding workers with the necessary skills will improve over the next six months.

The average year-over-year growth in prices paid decreased slightly, while growth in prices received increased slightly. However, firms continued to expect price growth to moderate somewhat over the next year.

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