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Richmond Fed's Current Activity Index dropped from 1 to −9 in September
Fifth District manufacturing activity softened in September, according to the most recent survey from the Richmond Fed. The composite index dropped from 1 in August to −9 in September, as both shipments and new orders fell. However, the third component, employment, rose. Firms also reported a drop in backlog of orders and weakening local business conditions but were optimistic that conditions would improve in the coming months.
Survey results indicated wage growth and a slight increase in employment in the manufacturing sector in September. However, firms struggled to find workers with the necessary skills, and the indicator for the average workweek hit a nine-year-low. Manufacturers expected wages and employment to continue to grow but finding workers to continue to be a struggle in the next six months.
Growth of prices paid by survey respondents held fairly steady in September, while the growth rate of prices received increased, narrowing the gap between the two. Firms expected growth of both prices paid and prices received to slow in the near future.
Posted: September 24, 2019 Tuesday 10:00 AM