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Fifth District Survey of Service Sector Activity

May 27, 2020

Fifth District service sector activity was weak in May, according to the most recent survey by the Richmond Fed. The indexes for both revenues and demand were above their April readings but remained firmly negative at −48 and −40, respectively. Contacts also reported continued contraction in spending and deterioration in local business conditions. Survey respondents expected conditions and revenues to remain soft in the coming months.

Survey results suggested that most service sector firms reduced employment, wages, and the average workweek in May. However, firms reported that it was easier to find workers with the necessary skills. Participants expected employment to remain decline further but wages and the workweek to increase in the next six months.

The average growth rates of both prices paid and prices received by service sector contacts decreased in May, as growth of prices paid continued to outpace that of prices received. Firms expected price growth to slow further in the near future.

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