All regional surveys released to date show manufacturing growth in March 2013.
Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region expanded at a slower pace in March after rebounding in February, according to the Richmond Fed’s latest survey. Looking at the main components of activity, factory shipments and employment remained in positive territory, while the volume of new orders declined somewhat. Other indicators also suggested softer activity. Capacity utilization and delivery times turned negative, and the gauge for backlogs fell further. In addition, finished goods inventories grew at a slightly slower rate.
Looking ahead, manufacturers in March were more optimistic about their future business prospects. An increasing number of contacts anticipated faster growth for shipments, new orders, backlogs capacity utilization and capital expenditures compared to a month ago.
Survey participants indicated that both raw materials and finished goods prices grew at a slightly slower pace than in February. Over the next six months, respondents expected both raw materials and finished goods prices to grow at a slightly slower rate than they had anticipated a month earlier.
In March, the seasonally adjusted composite index of manufacturing activity — our broadest measure of manufacturing — lost three points settling at 3, down from February's reading of 6. Among the index's components, shipments slipped two points to 8, the gauge for new orders moved down four points to end at −4, and the jobs index added one point to end at 9.
Other indicators also suggested weaker activity in March. The index for capacity utilization turned negative, losing fourteen points to −3, and the index for backlogs of orders dropped two points to finish at −14. The delivery times index edged down two points to end at −2, while gauges for our inventories were mixed in March. The raw materials inventory index increased six points to finish at 22, and the finished goods inventories moved down two points to end at 10.
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.