Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region continued to contract in October, according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

The manufacturing index remained negative 6 in October unchanged from negative 6 in September.

Index readings above zero show expansion, while numbers below zero indicate contraction.

Shipments slid to negative 6 from negative 2, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders grew to negative 5 from negative 17, while the backlog of orders index increased to negative 15 from negative 23.

As for the future outlook six months from now, the shipments index was 28, up from 27 last month, while the volume of new orders index decreased to 25 from 27, and the backlog of orders slipped to 9 from 12.

“Service sector activity remained weak in October,” according to the Richmond Fed’s service-sector activity survey, released Tuesday. “For a second month, revenues dropped at non-retail services providing establishments. Retailers’ revenues also fell, albeit more slowly than a month earlier, as big-ticket sales rose for the first time since April 2007 and the summer-long fall-off in shopper traffic nearly halted.”

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