Manufacturing in the central Atlantic region “improved in September,” according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, as the manufacturing index rose to 19 from 14.

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

Shipments jumped to 22 from 8, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders gained to 20 from 17, while the backlog of orders index declined to 8 from 11.

The capacity utilization index increased to 16 from 10, while the vendor lead time index gained to 15 from 7. The number of employees index fell to 15 from 17, while the average workweek index climbed to 16 from 10 last month, and the wages index crept down to 17 from 18.

As for future outlook (six months from now), the shipments index was 43, off from 45 last month, while the volume of new orders index increased to 42 from 41, and backlog of orders inched up to 20 from 19. Capacity utilization remained 36, the vendor lead time index slid to 7 from 10, the number of employees index gained to 33 from 30, while the average workweek index was at 25, up from 16 the previous month, and the wages index was 32, after a 35 reading last month. The capital expenditures index fell to 18 from 30.

The current trend in prices paid increased to 1.82 in September from 1.49 in August, while growing to 1.24 from 0.91 for prices received. The expected trend for the next six months rose to 1.93 from 1.43 for prices paid, and gained to 1.72 from 1.35 for prices received.

All firms surveyed are located within the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia.

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Gary Siegel

Gary Siegel

Gary Siegel has been at The Bond Buyer since 1989, currently covering economic indicators and the Federal Reserve system.