All regional surveys released to date show manufacturing growth in March 2013.
Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region pulled back in April after growing at a slower pace in March, according to the Richmond Fed's latest survey. The index of overall activity landed in negative territory, driven by weak readings for factory shipments and volume of new orders. Employment, however, remained in positive territory but grew at a pace below March's rate. Other indicators also suggested weaker activity. Capacity utilization and backlogs fell further, while the gauge for delivery times was unchanged. In addition, inventories grew at a slightly slower rate.
Looking forward, manufacturers in April were less optimistic about their future business prospects. An increasing number of contacts anticipated slower growth across the board for all indicators of activity six months from now.
Survey participants indicated that raw materials prices grew on par with March's pace, while finished goods prices grew at a slower rate than a month ago. Over the next six months, however, respondents expected both raw materials and finished goods prices to grow at a slightly quicker rate than they had anticipated last month.
In April, the seasonally adjusted composite index of manufacturing activity — our broadest measure of manufacturing — lost nine points, settling at −6 from March's reading of 3. Among the index's components, shipments fell seventeen points to −9, the gauge for new orders moved down four points to end at−8, and the jobs index subtracted six points to end at 3.
Other indicators also suggested weaker activity in April. The index for capacity utilization fell further, losing fifteen points to settle at −18, and the index for backlogs of orders dropped seven points to finish at −21. The delivery times index was unchanged at −2, while gauges for our inventories were somewhat lower in April. The raw materials inventory index decreased four points to finish at 18 and the finished goods inventories moved down one point to end at 9.
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.