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Richmond Fed

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Growth at Fastest Rate in Nearly Seven Years

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district expanded at its fastest rate since April 2010. The composite index of general business activity increased from 17 in February to 22 in March. That was the fifth straight monthly expansion in the mid-Atlantic region. Indeed, new orders (up from 24 to 26), shipments (up from 16 to 17), capacity utilization (up from 15 to 21), employment (up from 10 to 20) and the average workweek (up from 16 to 21) each accelerated somewhat in the latest survey. Growth in demand also grew at its briskest pace in nearly seven years, which should bode well for activity moving forward, particularly if it can be sustained. Read More

Richmond Fed: Expected Manufacturing New Orders Rose to Highest Point in Survey’s 23-Year History

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district expanded at its fastest rate in 11 months. The composite index of general business activity increased from 12 in January to 17 in February, marking the fourth straight monthly expansion in the mid-Atlantic region. Indeed, new orders (up from 15 to 24), shipments (up from 13 to 16), capacity utilization (up from 8 to 15), employment (up from 8 to 10) and the average workweek (up from 5 to 16) each accelerated in the latest survey. New orders grew at the briskest pace since April 2010, which should bode well for activity moving forward, particularly if it can be sustained. Read More

Richmond Fed: Manufacturers Continued to Expand Modestly in January

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district continued to expand modestly in January. The composite index of general business activity increased from 8 in December to 12 to January. That was the fastest pace of growth since March, representing the third straight monthly expansion in the mid-Atlantic region. Indeed, new orders (up from 11 to 15) and shipments (up from 12 to 13) each accelerated somewhat in the latest survey, with employment (up from -1 to 8) returning to positive growth in January after slipping a little in December. At the same time, capacity utilization (down from 10 to 8) and the average workweek (down from 11 to 5) slowed a bit in the latest report, even experienced decent growth. Read More

Richmond Fed: Manufacturers Experienced a Modest Rebound in Activity in November

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district rebounded modestly in November after contracting in four of the prior five months. The composite index of general business activity increased from -4 in October to 4 in November. The shift in this month’s report came largely from better new orders (up from -12 to 7) data, with shipments (down from 2 to 1) also expanding ever-so-slightly. At the same time, there are lingering weaknesses seen in indices for the backlog of orders (down from -11 to -12) and capacity utilization (up from -5 to -1). Beyond those measures, the labor market data were promising. Hiring (up from 3 to 5) accelerated for the second consecutive month, and the average workweek (up from -3 to 4) widened again. Read More

Richmond Fed: Soft Manufacturing Activity Once Again in October

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district remained soft in October. The composite index of general business activity increased from -8 in September to -4 in October but contracted for the third straight month. The underlying data were mixed. On the positive side, both shipments (up from -4 to 2) and hiring (up from -13 to 3) expanded slightly in October, suggesting a degree of stabilization from recent weaknesses. Yet, several other indicators were in contraction territory, including new orders (down from -7 to -12), capacity utilization (up from -11 to -5) and the average workweek (down from 1 to -3). Overall, these findings show that manufacturers in the region continue to struggle from global headwinds and economic uncertainty. Read More

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Remained Weak in September

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district remained weak in September. The composite index of general business activity increased from -11 in August to -8 in September but contracted for the second straight month. Several of the underlying data points eased in the rate of decline in this report, including new orders (up from -20 to -7), shipments (up from -14 to -4) and capacity utilization (up from -19 to -11). At the same time, the labor market data were mixed. Hiring (down from 7 to -13) turned negative for the first time in three years; whereas, the average workweek (up from -4 to 1) expanded ever-so-barely in this release after narrowing in August. These findings show that manufacturers in the region continue to struggle from global headwinds and economic uncertainty. Read More

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Improved in July after a Weak June

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district improved in July after weakening once again in June. The composite index of general business activity rebounded from -10 in June, its lowest reading since January 2013, to 10 in July. Indeed, the underlying data recovered across-the-board in this report, including new orders (up from -17 to 15), shipments (up from -8 to 7), capacity utilization (up from -11 to 3) and the average workweek (up from -7 to 1). In addition, manufacturers in the region accelerated their employment growth (up from 1 to 6) somewhat. Each of these indices were encouraging. Yet, this report has been highly volatile so far this year from month-to-month, with the headline number ranging from -10 in June to 17 in March. Hopefully, the expansion seen in July can be sustained moving forward. Read More

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

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