Richmond Fed: Manufacturing moderated, services soared in April

Register now

Manufacturing growth in the central Atlantic region was weaker than in March, while “service sector activity was robust in April,” according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, as the manufacturing index slipped to 3 from 10.

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

Shipments reversed to negative 2 from positive 2, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders fell to negative 2 from positive 9, while the backlog of orders index narrowed to negative 12 from negative 13.

The capacity utilization index dropped to negative 7 from positive 1, while the vendor lead time index rose to 13 from 7. The number of employees index slid to 18 from 23, the available skills improved to negative 8 from negative 14, while the average workweek index slumped to negative 11 from positive 5, and the wages index fell to 25 from 33.

As for future outlook (six months from now), the shipments index was 49, up from 40 last month, while the volume of new orders index gained to 40 from 36, and backlog of orders rose to 17 from 16. Capacity utilization grew to 35 from 26, the vendor lead time index increased to 13 from 2, the number of employees index gained to 15 from 13, the available skills narrowed to negative 14 from negative 23, while the average workweek index rose to 13 from 6 last month, and the wages index increased to 50 from 41. The capital expenditures index rose to 30 from 24.

The current trend in prices paid climbed to 3.04 in April from 2.84 in March, while declining to 1.84 from 2.07 for prices received. The expected trend for the next six months increased to 2.45 from 2.10 for prices paid, and dipped to 1.72 from 1.76 for prices received.

As for the service sector, the current revenues index surged to 26 from 5, services expenditures gained to 13 from 8, capital expenditures climbed to 20 from 13, while the number of employees index soared to 17 from 4, the available skills narrowed to negative 8 from negative 13, the wages index gained to 36 from 31, and the demand index grew to 22 from 16.

The expected service sector revenues index slid to 33 from 34, services expenditures fell to 12 from 15, capital expenditures increased to 20 from 14, while the number of employees index slid to 30 from 33, the available skills narrowed to negative 3 from negative 7, the wages index fell to 54 from 56, and the demand index increased to 29 from 26.

The indexes are the percentage of responding firms reporting increase, less the percentage reporting a decrease.

The current prices paid trend climbed to 3.18 from 2.86, and fell to 2.35 from 2.59 for prices received.

The expected price paid trend increased to 2.45 in April from 2.17 in March, while prices received dropped to 1.96 from 2.36.

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.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.
Economic indicators Manufacturing industry Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
MORE FROM BOND BUYER