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Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity

March 27, 2018 10 a.m.

Fifth District Manufacturing Firms Reported Sluggish Growth in March

Overview

Fifth District manufacturing expanded at a slower pace in March, according to the most recent survey results from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The composite index dropped from a particularly strong reading of 28 in February to 15 in March as each of the three components (shipments, new orders, and employment) fell. However, for each of these variables, a larger share of firms predicted growth in six months than had in February. Firms reported weaker growth in capital expenditures in March but saw an uptick in growth of business services expenditures.

The survey's employment measures suggested slower growth in March. While the availability of skills index increased in March, it remained in negative territory indicating that skills shortages persisted. Firms anticipate stronger growth in all employment measures in the coming months.

District manufacturers saw higher growth in prices paid in March, but growth in prices received slowed slightly. However, firms expected to see accelerating price increases for both prices paid and received in the next six months.

Charts

Index Table

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Regional Survey Team
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