By Maria Martinez


Manufacturing activity across the central Atlantic region of the U.S. remained broadly positive in November, as the composite index declined but continued in expansionary territory, data from a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond showed Tuesday.

The Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity's composite index came in at 15 in November, down from the 29 reading registered in October. The indicator compares with FactSet's forecast of 19.

The indicator 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.

November's reading is the first decline after six consecutive months of improvement for the index, which plunged to a record low of minus 53 in April amid the lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Despite the decline, all three components of the index--new orders, shipments and employment--had positive readings in November.

Volume of new orders declined to 12 from 32 a month earlier, and shipments fell to 20 from 30 in October.

Employment fell to 13 in November from 23 in October. The survey reflected higher employment among participants in November and suggested several manufacturers raised wages over the month, the report said. However, firms struggled to find workers with the necessary skills.

Survey results also reflected improvement in local business conditions, but the spending indexes softened somewhat. Respondents were optimistic that conditions would continue to improve in the next six months, the Richmond Fed said.


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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 24, 2020 10:30 ET (15:30 GMT)

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