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Fifth District Survey of Service Sector Activity

September 28, 2021

Fifth District service sector firms saw mixed conditions in September, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The indexes for revenues and demand declined from 15 and 25 in August to −3 and 17, respectively, in September. The local business conditions index reflected little change, overall, but many firms increased capital spending. Survey respondents were optimistic that conditions would improve in the coming months.

Many service sector firms reported growth in employment and wages in September, but they struggled to find workers with the necessary skills. They expected this difficulty to continue, along with employment and wage growth, in the next six months.

The average growth rate of prices paid by survey participants declined in September, while that of prices received rose. Growth of prices paid continued to outpace that of prices received, but respondents expected the gap between them to narrow further over the next year.

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