Of the four regional Federal Reserve surveys released to date, all show manufacturing expanding in January 2014.
Manufacturing in the Fifth District maintained a steady pace of growth, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Shipments continued at about last month's pace, while the volume of new orders edged up. New hiring softened, while the average workweek picked up and wage growth remained solid. The backlog of new orders slowed and vendor lead time flattened in January, as capacity utilization continued to rise.
Manufacturers were less buoyant about their future business conditions than they were in December. However producers continued to look for solid growth in shipments and new orders. Compared to last month's expectations, backlogs of new orders were expected to build more slowly and capacity utilization was expected to grow on pace with last month's outlook. Additionally, survey participants expected shorter vendor lead times than previously anticipated.
Manufacturers looked for faster growth in the average work week, with slower increases in hiring and wages. Expectations for raw materials and finished goods prices rose at a slower rate in January. Additionally, manufacturers expected slower growth in prices paid and prices received over the next six months compared to last month's predictions.
The composite index of manufacturing continued to grow at the same pace as a month ago; with a solid reading of 13 the past two months, the indicator slipped one point. The index for new orders improved four points, and the index of shipments shed one point, with both gauges ending at a reading of 14. Manufacturing employment grew at a slower pace. At an index of 6, the January indicator dropped eight points from last month's reading of 14.
Vendor lead time was unchanged in January. The index gained four points, settling at a reading of 0. The index for backlog of orders moved to −2 from a reading of −8, and capacity utilization grew at a faster pace, with the index gaining three points from last month's reading to finish at 11. Finished goods inventories built up at a slightly faster rate this month, pushing the index to 12, and nearly matched the December reading of 10. Raw materials inventories grew at a slower rate. That gauge slipped to 4 from 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.