Service sector activity “remained generally upbeat in September,” according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond service-sector activity survey, released Tuesday.

Overall, the service sector revenues index held at 22, while the number of employees index slid to 20 from 22, the average wage index fell to 21 from 23, and the expected product demand during the next six months index increased to 45 from 40.

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 rose to 26 from 19, the number of employees index fell to 20 from 22, while the average wages index surged to 25 from 9. The inventories index dropped to 9 from 12, while the big-ticket sales index gained to 18 from 13. The shopper traffic index soared to 24 from 6, while expected product demand during the next six months rose to 48 from 46.

For services firms excluding retail, the revenues index was 22 compared with 21 last month, while the number of employees index decreased to 20 from 22, and the average wage index dropped to 20 from 26. The expected product demand during the next six months index grew to 44 from 39.

The current price trend for the two sectors together fell to 1.26 from 1.36, while soaring to 1.81 from 1.56 for retail alone and slipping to 1.24 from 1.39 for services, excluding retail.

The expected price trend index for the two sectors together decreased to 1.30 in September from 1.49 in August, while soaring to 2.77 from 1.31 for retail alone and slowing to 1.34 from 1.54 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.