Mid-Atlantic Manufacturing Activity Improves in April — Richmond Fed
Manufacturing activity across the central Atlantic region of the U.S. continued growing in April, data from a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond showed Tuesday.
The Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity’s composite index was 17 in April, unchanged from March. The reading is below the forecasts from economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, who expected the indicator to come in at 22.0.
The index is compiled by surveying manufacturing firms across the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which encompasses the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and most of West Virginia. Positive readings signal expansion, while negative readings indicate contraction.
Manufacturing activity in the area has been expanding uninterruptedly since July 2020, but the expansion pace has slowed significantly in recent months from a record-high peak reached in October.
The headline index in April remained in expansion territory as all three component indexes–shipments, new orders, and employment–remained positive.
The new orders index rose to 16 in April from 10 in March, while the shipments index fell to 16 from 22, the data showed.
The employment index fell to 19 from 22, but remained in expansion, signaling that manufacturers increased employment and wages in April. However, finding workers with the necessary skills remained difficult and survey participants expected these trends to continue in the next six months, the Richmond Fed said.
Businesses reported lengthened vendor lead times, as this index remained at 61 in April, breaking a 25-year-record high.
The average growth rates of both prices paid and prices received by survey participants increased in April, as growth of prices paid continued to outpace that of prices received. Respondents expected price growth to slow in the near future, the report said.
Future indexes for new orders and shipments improved, as well as expectations for employment, data from the report showed.
Source: Dow Jones