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Richmond Fed

regional Fed

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Continued to Decline in June

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district continued to decline in June, falling for the second straight month. The composite index of general business activity decreased from -1 in May to -7 in June, its lowest reading since January 2013. The underlying data reflecting continuing weaknesses across-the-board, even with some easing in the pace of decline for shipments (up from -8 to -3). New orders (down from zero to -14), the backlog of orders (down from -13 to -17), capacity utilization (down from -6 to -10), the average workweek (down from 6 to -4) and hiring (down from 4 to -1) each contracted at a faster rate. It is notable that this report reflected renewed softness in the labor market in June, which had notched some stabilization in May. Read More

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Expanded for the Second Straight Month in April

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity expanded for the second straight month in April. The composite index of general business activity declined from 22 in March to 14 in April. More importantly, the relatively strong data seen in this report are consistent with some stabilization in activity following significant softness over the course of the past year. For instance, new orders (down from 24 to 18) and shipments (down from 27 to 14) each expanded strongly in April despite some easing in the pace of growth in this latest report. Capacity utilization (up from 17 to 18) accelerated slightly in April, its highest point since December 2010. In addition, the labor market variables continued to grow modestly, with some pullback for the month, including hiring (down from 11 to 8) and the average workweek (down from 16 to 9). Read More

regional Fed

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Rebounded in March

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank reported rebounding manufacturing activity in March, much like was reported in similar surveys from its regional peers in New York and Philadelphia. The composite index of general business activity jumped from -4 in February to 22 in March, its highest monthly gain in nearly six years. After contracting in February, new orders (up from -6 to 24), shipments (up from -11 to 27) and capacity utilization (up from -5 to 17) each expanded strongly in March. Hiring (up from 9 to 11) and the average workweek (up from 5 to 16) also improved for the month. As such, this report was reassuring, offering a sign that manufacturing in the district was beginning to stabilize after months of weakness due to global headwinds. Read More

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Declined Once Again in February

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank reported declining manufacturing activity on net once again in February, ending two months of slightly positive gains. The composite index of general business activity decreased from 2 in January to -4 in February, with many of the key subcomponents drifting lower for the month. This included new orders (down from 4 to -6), shipments (down from -6 to -11), capacity utilization (down from zero to -5) and the backlog of orders (down from 4 to -14). As such, manufacturers in the district continue to struggle on global headwinds and economic anxieties, dampening overall demand and production. Yet, hiring (unchanged at 9) continued to expand modestly, which provided some encouragement. Read More

Richmond Fed: Manufacturers Reported Improved Activity in December, But Still Soft

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank reported improved activity in December, rebounding after three straight months of declines. The composite index of general business activity rose from -3 in November to 6 in December, its first positive reading since July. (The measure was zero in August.) As such, manufacturers in the district ended 2015 with better news, even as overall conditions remained relatively soft. The higher headline number stemmed largely from improvements in new orders (up from -6 to 8), capacity utilization (up from zero to 2), employment (up from zero to 12) and the average workweek (up from -3 to 7). At the same time, shipments (up from -2 to zero) and the backlog of orders (up from -16 to zero) stabilized for the month. Read More

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Declined for the Third Straight Month in November

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity declined for the third straight month in November, highlighting recent challenges in the sector in the district. The composite index of general business activity declined from -1 in October to -3 in November. Manufacturers reported reduced growth in new orders (down from zero to -6), shipments (up from -4 to -2) and the average workweek (down from -5 to -3). Note that the pace of decline eased for both shipments and the workweek, and similarly, capacity utilization (up from -14 to zero) stabilized after falling sharply the month before. At the same time, employment continued to pull back from modest gains in prior months. Hiring (down from 3 to zero) stagnated in November, with wage growth (down from 17 to 6) slowing. Read More

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Stalled in August

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity stalled in August, pulling back from three months of rebounding sentiment. The composite index of general business activity declined from 13 in July to zero in August, its lowest level since April. Manufacturers reported weaker activity across-the-board, with only marginal growth in new orders (down from 17 to 1) and employment (unchanged at 1) and reductions in shipments (down from 16 to -4) and capacity utilization (down from 9 to -5) levels. There have been a number of headlines so far this year, including a strong dollar, sluggish global growth and reduced crude oil prices. These data suggest that the sector has not fully emerged from those challenges despite some progress since the spring months. Read More

Monday Economic Report – June 29, 2015

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Here is the summary for this week’s Monday Economic Report:

Last week, there were several reminders that the manufacturing sector has not recovered fully from economic weaknesses earlier in the year, even as business leaders remain cautiously optimistic about activity in the coming months. Durable goods orders declined 1.8 percent in May, extending April’s 1.5 percent decrease. Much of this softness stemmed from reduced aircraft sales, with orders excluding transportation modestly higher. Nonetheless, durable goods demand has been quite weak for much of the past year. On the positive side, we would expect stronger durable goods orders in the June data, with the recent Paris Air Show lifting aircraft sales, and the broader measure, which excludes transportation, has edged marginally higher over the past three months. We hope that this is the start of a rebound. Read More

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Expanded at Fastest Rate since January

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank reported that manufacturing activity expanded at its fastest pace since January – a sign that the sector has made progress since the spring. The composite index of general business activity improved from 1 in May to 6 in June. This figure was boosted, in particular, by stronger new orders (up from 2 to 11), its highest level since October. Shipments (up from -1 to zero) were unchanged for the month, but that represented some stabilization after four straight months of contraction. Overall, this report found modest growth in the manufacturing sector in the Richmond Fed district, which – while not as strong as we might prefer – found sentiment moving in the right direction. Read More

Monday Economic Report – June 1, 2015

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Here is the summary for this week’s Monday Economic Report: 

The U.S. economy shrank in the first quarter for the second year in a row, with revised data showing that real GDP declined by 0.7 percent. This was down from an earlier estimate of 0.2 percent growth. Overall, this was a disappointing start to 2015. That is particularly true when you look at the optimism that many businesses had at the start of the year. Yet, manufacturers faced a number of significant headwinds in recent months, including weaknesses abroad, a strong U.S. dollar, lower crude oil prices, the residual effects of the West Coast ports slowdown, bad weather in some regions of the country and a still-cautious consumer. Read More