Of the three regional Federal Reserve surveys released to date, all show manufacturing expanding in July 2014. A complete summary follows. The market expected this survey index at 3 to 10 (consensus 5.5) versus the 7 actual [note that values above zero represent expansion].
Fifth District manufacturing activity grew moderately in July, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.* The volume of new orders was flat compared to June, and shipments grew on pace with a month ago. Manufacturing employment picked up, while growth in the average workweek slowed slightly and wages rose more quickly in comparison to last month.
Manufacturers were optimistic about future business conditions. Firms expected faster growth in shipments and new orders in the six months ahead. Additionally, producers looked for backlogs to build more quickly and anticipated faster growth in capacity utilization. Expectations were for shorter vendor lead times.
Survey participants expected faster growth in the number of employees along with solid growth in wages and a pickup in the average workweek. Prices of raw materials and finished goods rose at a somewhat faster pace in July compared to last month. Additionally, manufacturers expected slightly faster growth in prices paid and prices received over the next six months than they anticipated a month ago.
Overall, manufacturing conditions strengthened. The composite index for manufacturing moved up to a reading of 7 following last month's reading of 4. The index for shipments gained one point, ending at 3. New orders grew at the same pace as a month ago, with that index finishing at a reading of 5. Manufacturing employment picked up this month; the July indicator advanced nine points to a reading of 13.
Vendor lead time lengthened, moving the index to 12 from a reading of 2, and the backlog of orders index flattened to 0 from −4. The capacity utilization gauge slipped three points this month to end at 4. Finished goods inventories built up at a faster pace. The index gained four points, ending at 12. Raw materials inventories grew more quickly compared to last month. That gauge moved to 21 from 14.
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.