Research >> Economics
Richmond Fed's Current Activity Index plummeted from 2 to −53 in April
Fifth District manufacturing activity declined sharply in April, according to the most recent survey from the Richmond Fed. The composite index plummeted from 2 in March to −53 in April, its lowest reading and largest one-month drop on record. All three components — shipments, new orders, and employment — fell, and the indexes for shipments and new orders reached record lows. Firms reported weakened local business conditions and expected conditions to remain soft in the next six months.
Survey results reflected a deterioration in employment conditions in April. More contacts reported drops in employment and average work week, although the wage index remained flat. Manufacturers expected these conditions to persist. On balance, employers still struggled to find workers with the necessary skills, but expected this constraint to ease in the coming months — the expectation index for availability of skills was above zero for the first time since 2017.
The average growth rate of prices paid by survey respondents rose in April, while that of prices received fell, widening the gap between the two. Manufacturers expected the growth rates of both to increase in the next several months.
Posted: April 28, 2020 Tuesday 10:00 AM