Manufacturers in the central Atlantic region “were upbeat again in April,” according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, as the manufacturing index dipped to 20 in April from 22 in March.

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

Shipments climbed to 25 from 17, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders remained at 26, while the backlog of orders index fell to 4 from 14.

The capacity utilization index increased to 22 from 21, while the vendor lead time index slid to 2 from 8. The number of employees index sank to 5 from 20, while the average workweek index dropped to 8 from 21 last month, and the wages index held at 21.

As for future outlook (six months from now), the shipments index was 42, off from 44 last month, while the volume of new orders index decreased to 46 from 48, and backlog of orders fell to 22 from 26. Capacity utilization grew to 43 from 38, the vendor lead time index declined to 3from 12, the number of employees index stayed at 25, while the average workweek index was at 13, down from 15 the previous month, and the wages index was 34, after 40 last month. The capital expenditures index gained to 26 from 17.

The finished goods inventories index decreased to 18 from 20, while the raw materials index gained to 24 from 23 the previous month.

The current trend in prices paid increased to 1.96 in April from 1.69 in March, while slowing to 1.13 from 1.23 for prices received. The expected trend for the next six months increased to 1.81 from 1.60 for prices paid, and rose to 1.59 from 1.55 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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