Service sector activity “improved notably in August,” according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond service-sector activity survey, released Tuesday.

Overall, the service sector revenues index grew to 22 from 12, while the number of employees index slid to 22 from 24, the average wage index slid to 23 from 30, and the expected product demand during the next six months index increased to 40 from 32.

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

By sector, the retail area excluding services firms reported the sales revenues index slid to 19 from 24, the number of employees index fell to 22 from 40, while the average wages index plunged to 9 from 42. The inventories index grew to positive 12 from negative 1, while the big-ticket sales index declined to 13 from 29. The shopper traffic index slipped to 6 from 7, while expected product demand during the next six months rose to 46 from 41.

For services firms excluding retail, the revenues index was 21 compared with 11 last month, while the number of employees index increased to 22 from 21, and the average wage index dropped to 26 from 29. The expected product demand during the next six months index grew to 39 from 30.

The current price trend for the two sectors together rose to 1.36 from 1.34, while soaring to positive 1.56 from negative 2.72 for retail alone and slipping to 1.39 from 1.41 for services, excluding retail.

The expected price trend index for the two sectors together decreased to 1.49 in August from 1.56 in July, while soaring to 1.31 from 0.60 for retail alone and slowing to 1.64 from 1.59 from for services, excluding retail.

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.