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Fifth District Survey of Service Sector Activity

September 22, 2020

The Fifth District service sector improved slightly in September, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The indexes for revenues and demand increased from 2 and −1 in August to 6 and 11 in September, the first positive reading for demand since March. Some firms reported improvement in local business conditions as well. In general, contacts were optimistic that conditions would improve in the coming months.

Survey results suggested continued softness in employment, as that index fell slightly from 0 in August to −3 in September and has not been above 0 since March. Most survey participants reported increases in wages in September and expected both employment and wages to grow in the next six months.

The average growth rates of both prices paid and prices received by survey respondents rose in September, as growth of prices paid continued to outpace that of prices received. Firms expected to see slowing growth of both prices paid and prices received in the near future.

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