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Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity

December 28, 2021

Fifth District manufacturing activity strengthened in December, according to the most recent survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The composite index rose from 12 in November to 16 in December, driven by increases in shipments and new orders. The third component in the composite index, employment, moderated but remained in expansionary territory. Backlogs of new orders registered their second highest index value on record, as vendor lead times remained high and inventories remained low. Meanwhile, manufacturers reported continued investment spending.

More manufacturing firms reported increasing employment than decreasing in December. Respondents continued to report difficulty finding workers with the necessary skills and are expecting this difficulty to continue. Many firms increased wages in December and are planning to keep increasing wages. Our expected wage index reached a record high of 74 in December.

The average growth rate of prices paid and prices received by survey participants increased in December. Firms expect the growth rate of prices paid and prices received to slow over the next year.

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