Expansion Pace of Mid-Atlantic Manufacturing Activity Steadies in February -- Richmond Fed
By Xavier Fontdegloria
Manufacturing activity across the central Atlantic region of the
U.S. expanded in February at the same pace as the previous month,
data from a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond showed
The Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity's composite
index came in at 14 in February, unchanged from January. The
reading missed forecasts from economists polled by The Wall Street
Journal, who expected the indicator increase slightly to 16.
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.
Manufacturing activity in the area has been expanding
uninterruptedly since July 2020, but the expansion pace has slowed
significantly in recent months from a peak reached in October.
All three components of the index--new orders, shipments and
employment--remained in expansion territory in February, but only
one of them increased compared with the previous month.
The new orders index fell two points to 10, while the shipments
index rose two points to 12, the data showed.
The employment index fell by one point to 22, with survey
results indicating that many manufacturers increased employment and
wages in the month. However, finding workers with the necessary
skills was difficult and respondents expected this difficulty to
continue in the next six months, the Richmond Fed said.
Firms also reported decreased inventory levels, as the index for
raw materials inventories hit a series low of minus 8.
The average growth rates of both prices paid and prices received
by survey participants rose in February, as growth of prices paid
continued to outpace that of prices received.
Future indexes signaled that manufacturers were optimistic that
conditions would improve in the coming months, the report said.
Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 23, 2021 10:44 ET (15:44 GMT)
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