Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region rebounded in February after declining in January, according to the Richmond Fed’s latest survey. Looking at the main components of activity, factory shipments and employment returned to positive territory, while the volume of new orders stabilized. Other indicators also suggested additional firmness. Capacity utilization turned positive, while the gauge for delivery times steadied and backlogs contracted at a somewhat slower pace. In addition, inventories grew at a slightly slower rate.
Looking forward, assessments of business prospects for the next six months were generally more optimistic in February. An increasing number of contacts anticipated faster growth for shipments, new orders, backlogs, and capacity utilization compared to a month ago.
Survey participants indicated that both raw materials and finished goods prices grew at a slightly slower pace than in January. Over the next six months, respondents expected both raw materials and finished goods prices to grow at a slightly quicker rate than they had anticipated a month earlier.
In February, the seasonally adjusted composite index of manufacturing activity — our broadest measure of manufacturing — gained eighteen points, settling at 6 from January's reading of −12. Among the index's components, shipments rose twenty-one points to 10, the gauge for new orders moved up seventeen points to end at 0, and the jobs index increased thirteen points to 8.
Other indicators also suggested strengthening in February. The index for capacity utilization moved higher, adding twenty-nine points to 11, and the index for backlogs of orders gained seven points to end at −12. The delivery times index stabilized, picking up four points to end at 4, while both our gauges for inventories were lower in February. The raw materials inventory index lost seven points to finish at 16, and the finished goods inventories moved down eleven points to end at 12.
Read entire source document from Richmond Fed
Summary of all Federal Reserve Districts Manufacturing:
Richmond Fed (hyperlink to reports):
Kansas Fed (hyperlink to reports):
Dallas Fed (hyperlink to reports):
Philly Fed (hyperlink to reports):
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New York Fed (hyperlink to reports):
Federal Reserve Industrial Production - Actual Data (hyperlink to report)
Holding this and other survey's Econintersect follows accountable for their predictions, the following graph compares the hard data from Industrial Products manufacturing subindex (dark blue bar) and US Census manufacturing shipments (lighter blue bar) to the Richmond Fed Survey (dark green bar).
Comparing Surveys to Hard Data
In the above graphic, hard data is the long bars, and surveys are the short bars. The arrows on the left side are the key to growth or contraction.