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Fifth District Survey of Service Sector Activity

December 22, 2020

The Fifth District service sector showed signs of softening in December, according to the most recent survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The indexes for revenues and demand fell from 13 and 15 in November to −9 and −6, respectively, in December. The index for local business conditions also reflected a drop in sentiment as it fell to −12, its lowest reading since June. Survey respondents were optimistic that conditions would improve in the next six months.

Survey responses indicated that many firms increased employment, wages, and hours in December, but finding workers with the necessary skills was challenging. Survey participants expected employment to increase further in the coming months.

The average growth rates of both prices paid and prices received by survey respondents increased in December, as growth of prices paid continued to outpace that of prices received. Participants expect the gap between them to narrow in the near future.

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