Richmond Fed Survey: ‘Manufacturing Activity Improved Modestly in March’

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Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region of the United States showed modest improvements in March, according to a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond released on Tuesday.

The Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity’s index rose from a negative 16 in February to a negative five in March. The index has increased for the third straight month, despite still being negative. Scores above zero indicate growth, while lower scores indicate contraction in the factory sector.

Shipments saw the second largest change of all three component indexes, rising from a negative 15 in February to a positive two in March. During the same period, employment and new order indexes improved from the previous month but remained negative. Employment went from a negative seven in February to a negative 5 in March, and new orders when from a negative 24 in February to a negative 11.

The Richmond Fed explained that firms remained gloomy about the local business conditions since the March index registered as a negative 12, barely notching up from the negative 13 the month prior. But, firms continued to report the easing of the supply chain as backlogs and lead times remained in the negative, while the “Firms expect both to moderate over the next 12 months,” the Fed stated.

Earlier this month, the New York and Philadelphia Fed reported that business activity had continued declining in February.

Breitbart News wrote about the New York:

The index of general business conditions in the state dropped roughly 19 points to -24.6 from -5.8 in January. New orders and shipments also saw a significant decline. New orders had plunged roughly 14 points from -7.8 to -21.7, while the shipments index also dropped approximately 14 points from 0.1 to -13.4.

Breitbart News wrote about the Philadelphia Fed:

The Philly Fed said that its index for current general activity rose one point to a minus 23.2, the seventh consecutive negative reading. While that is an improvement from the minus reading of 24.3 in February, any reading below zero indicates a contraction in activity from the previous month.

This also comes after the Department of Commerce released a report stating that Americans spent $697.9 billion at retail stores and online in February, which was down 0.4 percent from the previous month, after a revised 3.2 percent in January.

Additionally, the Department of Labor said that consumer prices were up 0.4 percent in February. Still, compared to a year ago, consumer prices are up six percent, lower than the 12-month gain of 6.4 percent recorded in January.

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.


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