All five regional surveys show manufacturing expanding in August 2013.
Fifth District manufacturing activity strengthened in August, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Shipments, new orders, and capacity utilization rose. Additionally, the ongoing decline in the backlog of orders slowed this month. Vendor lead-time flattened and finished goods inventories grew a bit more slowly. Employment measures improved as well; the number of employees expanded modestly, and the average work week also picked up. Average wages increased.
Manufacturers expected greater strength in the six months ahead. Expectations rose across all categories measured: new orders and shipments, backlogs, capacity utilization, and vendor lead time. Capital expenditures were also projected to expand further. Producers anticipated modest growth in the number of employees and a somewhat longer average workweek. In addition, they expected average wages to increase briskly.
Raw materials and finished goods prices grew more slowly in August. However, compared to a month ago, survey participants expected faster future price increases for both raw materials and finished goods.
The composite index of manufacturing activity rebounded in August, climbing twenty-five points above the July reading to 14. The components of that index all rose this month, with the index for shipments jumping to 17 from the previous reading of −15 and the index for new orders moving to 16 from −15. The marker for the number of employees picked up to 6 from July’s reading of 0.
Capacity utilization made a weak comeback, with the index ending the survey period at 3 compared to last month’s index of −9. The gauge for the backlog of orders declined by much less than a month ago, with that index settling at −6 from the previous reading of −24. Finished goods inventories continued to accumulate at a moderate rate, with the index ending at 13 in August compared to 15. Raw materials inventories grew a bit faster than in July, picking up two points to end at 13.
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.