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Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity

August 24, 2021

Fifth District manufacturing activity improved in August, according to the most recent survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The composite index declined from 27 in July to 9 in August but remained in expansionary territory, as all three component indexes — shipments, new orders, and employment — decreased but remained positive. However, several manufacturers reported deteriorating local business conditions. Survey contacts also noted that lead times continued to increase and inventories remained low. Overall, they were optimistic that conditions would improve in the next six months.

Survey results suggested that many firms increased employment and wages in August, as the wage index hit a record high. Firms struggled to find workers with the necessary skills, and they expected these trends to continue in the coming months.

The average growth rate of prices paid by survey respondents declined slightly in August, while that of prices received increased. Firms expect price growth to slow over the next year.

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