Richmond Index Shows Manufacturing Slowing in November

Written by Sandy Williams

Manufacturing slowed in November in the Fifth District, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The composite index for manufacturing activity registered -3, down from -1 in October. Shipments were also negative ending at -2. New orders fell six points to -6.

The summary from the Fifth District Survey follows:

“Fifth District manufacturing activity slowed in November, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Shipments remained sluggish and new orders declined. Hiring in the sector changed little compared to the previous month, while the average workweek shortened and wages rose mildly. Raw materials prices rose at a somewhat faster pace, while prices of finished goods increased modestly in November.

“Manufacturers’ expectations were less optimistic in November compared to October. However, they still looked for an improvement in business conditions during the next six months. Compared to October’s outlook, producers expected slower growth in shipments and in the volume of new orders in the six months ahead. Compared to current conditions, firms anticipated faster growth in backlogs and capacity utilization during the next six months, and. expectations for vendor lead times were expected to change little in the next six months.

“Survey participants looked for moderate growth in wages and a pickup in the average workweek during the next six months. Hiring expectations remained solid in November, although the outlook was less robust than a month earlier. Firms anticipated faster growth in prices paid and prices received.”

The Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity is based on responses from 70 firms located in the district which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and most of West Virginia. Each index is the percentage of responding firms reporting increase minus the percentage reporting decrease. The headline index is a composite representing the weighted average of the shipments, new orders and employment indexes.

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