Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity

May 23, 2017 10 a.m.

Manufacturing Firms were Somewhat Less Upbeat about Activity in May Compared to Prior Months

Overview

Manufacturers in the Fifth District were somewhat less upbeat in May than in the prior three months, according to the latest survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The index for shipments and the index for new orders decreased notably, with the shipments index falling to slightly below 0. The index for employment was relatively flat, but the decline in the other two indexes resulted in a decline in the composite index from 20 in April to 1 in May. The majority of firms continued to report higher wages, but more firms reported a decline in the average workweek than reported an increase.

Looking six months ahead, manufacturing executives remained generally optimistic, although the only index to increase was expected capital expenditures. Nonetheless, the expected shipments index had a strong reading of 39 in May (from 42 in April) and the expected new orders index remained relatively high at a reading of 35.

Survey respondents reported that growth in both prices paid and prices received moderated somewhat.

Charts

Index Table

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