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Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity

April 24, 2018 10 a.m.

Fifth District Manufacturing Firms Reported Weakening Business Activity in April

Overview

Results of the most recent survey from the Richmond Fed suggest that Fifth District manufacturing activity slowed in April. The composite index dropped sharply from 15 in March to −3 in April, its first negative reading since September 2016. The index was weighed down by a contraction in shipments and new orders; however, its third component, employment, rose slightly and remained in expansionary territory. The negative reading of the local business conditions index also suggested worsening conditions for District manufacturers, but surveyed firms were generally optimistic that they would see overall growth in the next six months.

Survey results indicate that capital expenditures and wages increased among District manufacturing firms in April as both indicators reached record-high values of 31 and 27, respectively. Despite rising wages, firms continued to report difficulty in finding necessary skills.

Firms saw increased growth in prices paid in April, but growth of prices received continued to slow. Manufacturers expected to see faster growth in both prices paid and prices received in the coming months.

Charts

Index Table

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Regional Survey Team
(804) 697-8702