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Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity

September 27, 2022

Many Fifth District manufacturing firms reported little change in activity in September, according to the most recent survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The composite manufacturing index rose from −8 in August to 0 in September, matching its July level. Two of its three component indexes improved notably: the indexes for shipments and volume of new orders rose from −8 and −20 in August to 14 and −11 in September, respectively. However, the third component, the employment index, fell to 0 from 11 in September, as hiring challenges persisted.

The wage index also increased dramatically, surpassing its July and August levels. The local business conditions index rose but remained negative in September, moving from −14 to −5. Firms' expectations of conditions over the next six months, too, saw a small increase but remained negative.

There was not much indication of supply chain relief since August, as the indexes for vendor lead time and backlog of orders remained steady, although both have improved dramatically since earlier this year.

On a positive note, the average growth rate of prices paid and prices received both decreased markedly in September, as expectations for both over the next 12 months changed little from August.

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