Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region "pulled back" in October, according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, as the manufacturing index declined to negative 7 from positive 4 in September.

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

Shipments reversed to negative 9 from positive 9, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders fell to negative 6 from positive 7, while the backlog of orders index narrowed to negative 3 from negative 9.

The capacity utilization index declined to negative 4 from positive 3, while the vendor lead time index dipped to negative 2 from negative 1. The number of employees index remained negative 5, while the average workweek index was at positive 3 after a negative 5 reading last month, and the wages index grew to 10 from 6.

As for future outlook (six months from now), the shipments index was 21, up from 20 last month, while the volume of new orders index slid to 19 from 26, and backlog of orders slumped to 6 from 16. Capacity utilization dropped to 19 from 23, the vendor lead time index fell to 7 from 13, the number of employees index increased to 8 from 1 while the average workweek index was at 10, off from 11 the previous month, and the wages index was 25, up from 21 last month. The capital expenditures index was zero after 2 last month.

The finished goods inventories index declined to 15 from 18, while the raw materials index rose to 23 from 17 the previous month.

The current trend in prices paid rose to 3.21 in October from 1.42 in September, while jumping to 1.99 from 0.44 for prices received. The expected trend for the next six months surged to 2.55 from 1.33 for prices paid, and grew to 1.51 from 1.27 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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