Of the four regional surveys released to date, all except one show manufacturing expanding in December 2013.
Fifth District manufacturing activity continued to grow at a slightly slower pace in December, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Shipments and the volume of new orders grew at a slightly slower rate compared to last month. Manufacturing employment picked up this month, while wages and average work week rose more slowly. The backlog of orders and vendor lead time declined in December, as capacity utilization rose.
Manufacturers remained optimistic about their future business conditions. Survey participants predicted the volume of new orders and shipments would grow at a faster pace. Additionally, they looked for capacity utilization to grow more quickly during the next six months. Firms anticipated rising backlogs of new orders and longer vendor lead times. Producers expected the number of employees and wages to grow at a faster pace during the next six months. Compared with the current month, expectations were for slower growth in the average work week.
Raw materials and finished goods prices rose at a slower pace in December compared to last month. However manufacturers expected faster growth in prices paid and prices received over the next six months.
The composite index of manufacturing continued to grow at the same pace as last month's index, maintaining a reading of 13. The index of shipments slipped a point lower to 15, and the index for new orders dropped five points, ending at an indicator of 10. Employment grew at a faster rate this month ending the survey period at 14, nine points above the November reading.
Vendor lead time declined, moving the index to −4 from a reading of 8, while the backlog of orders index slowed further, ending at a reading of −8. In November, the index was −1. The capacity utilization index increased, climbing in December to 8 from 0. Both finished goods inventories and raw materials inventories grew more slowly compared to last month. Those gauges shed two and one points respectively, ending at a reading of 10 and 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.