3 out of 4 regional surveys released to date show manufacturing contraction in May 2013.
Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region contracted at a less pronounced rate in May after pulling back in April, according to the Richmond Fed’s latest survey. Looking at the main components of activity, volume of new orders edged lower and employment turned marginally negative. Shipments however, moved into positive territory. Evidence of diminished weakness was also reflected in most other indicators. District contacts reported that backlogs and capacity utilization remained negative but improved from April readings, while the gauge for delivery times turned positive. In addition, inventories grew at a slightly slower rate.
Looking ahead, manufacturers in May were more optimistic about their future business prospects. An increasing number of contacts anticipated that new orders, backlogs, capacity utilization and capital expenditures would grow at a solid pace in coming months.
Survey participants indicated that raw materials prices grew at a somewhat slower rate than a month ago, while finished goods prices grew at a slightly quicker pace. 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 May, the seasonally adjusted composite index of manufacturing activity — our broadest measure of manufacturing — gained four points settling at −2 from April's reading of −6. Among the index's components, shipments recouped seventeen points to 8, the gauge for new orders slipped two points to finish at −10, and the jobs index subtracted six points to end at −3.
Most other indicators also suggested some easing in the pace of recent weakness. The index for capacity utilization picked up twelve points to settle at −6, and the index for backlogs of orders gained ten points to finish at −11. The delivery times index turned positive, moving up four points to end at 2, while gauges for inventories were somewhat lower in May. The raw materials inventory index decreased eleven points to finish at 7, and the finished goods inventories moved down three points to end at 6.
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):
/images/z philly fed1.PNG
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.