“Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region expanded for the sixth straight month but at a more moderate pace in October,” according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

“All broad indicators — shipments, new orders and employment — continued to grow but at a rate below September’s pace. Other indicators were mixed, however,” the survey said. “Capacity utilization continued to grow more slowly, while backlogs fell further into negative territory. Vendor delivery times were virtually unchanged, while manufacturers reported slower growth in finished goods inventories.”

The manufacturing index declined to 7 in October from 14 in September.

Meanwhile, the Richmond Fed added: “service sector activity slumped in October.”

“Retail sales dropped as shopper traffic diminished and big-ticket sales declined. Inventories also fell, although reductions were less pervasive than a month ago,” it said. “Services firms’ revenues also contracted in October. Looking ahead, survey respondents scaled back their expectations for business opportunities in the next six months.”

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