Richmond Fed: Manufacturing rebounds in Feb. on shipments, new orders

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Manufacturing growth in the central Atlantic region “strengthened in February,” according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, as the manufacturing index climbed to positive 16 from negative 2.

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

Shipments rebounded to positive 12 from negative 8, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders reversed to positive 19 from negative 11, while the backlog of orders index narrowed to negative 7 from negative 21.

The capacity utilization index rose to 8 from 3, while the vendor lead time index remained at 4. The number of employees index slid to 15 from 19, the available skills widened to negative 13 from negative 12, while the average workweek index soared to 17 from 3, and the wages index fell to 29 from 31.

As for future outlook (six months from now), the shipments index was 32, up from 29 last month, while the volume of new orders index dipped to 30 from 31, and backlog of orders rose to 11 from 5. Capacity utilization jumped to 31 from 20, the vendor lead time index improved to positive 3 from negative 9, the number of employees index dipped to 15 from 21, the available skills widened to negative 19 from negative 17, while the average workweek index decreased to negative 1 from positive 7 last month, and the wages index increased to 51 from 48. The capital expenditures index fell to 16 from 27.

The current trend in prices paid declined to 3.03 in February from 3.32 in January, while falling to 2.06 from 2.26 for prices received. The expected trend for the next six months decreased to 2.17 from 2.48 for prices paid, and dipped to 1.81 from 2.00 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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Economic indicators Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond