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posted on 24 February 2015

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Survey Shows No Growth Forecast in February 2015

Of the three regional Federal Reserve surveys released to date, two show manufacturing expanding and now the Richmond survey shows no growth. The market expected this survey index at 4 to 8 (consensus 6.0) versus the 0.0 actual [note that values above zero represent expansion].

Fifth District manufacturing activity slowed in February, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Shipments and the volume of new orders flattened, while the backlog of orders declined. Hiring in the sector was weak and the average workweek shrank, although wage growth advanced modestly. Despite the soft current conditions, producers were upbeat about future business opportunities. Expectations were for solid increases in shipments and new orders in the six months ahead, with greater capacity utilization. In addition, manufacturers looked for a build-up in backlogged orders and minimal vendor lead-times.

Compared to January's outlook, producers expected slower employment growth and less growth in the average workweek. Although wage growth expectations remained solid in February, the outlook was less robust than a month earlier.

Prices of raw materials and finished goods were little changed in February. Looking ahead, manufacturers expected slower price growth over the next six months than they had a month ago.

Current Activity

Manufacturing activity slowed this month, with several components flattening. The composite index dropped to zero from January's reading of 6. The shipments index slipped to −1 from 10, the volume of new orders fell six points to −2, and the index for the number of employees shed one point to end at 4.

Capacity utilization also dropped in February, settling 13 points lower at −4. The indicator for vendor lead times fell to 2 from 5. Backlogs of new orders remained in the doldrums, with that index falling another point to −10 this month.

Finished goods inventories continued to grow solidly, although that index also fell below last month's reading. The index declined to 20 from 25. Raw materials inventories rose nearly on pace with January's reading, with the index three points lower this month at 16.

Read entire source document from Richmond Fed

Summary of all Federal Reserve Districts Manufacturing:

Richmond Fed (hyperlink to reports):

z richmond_man.PNG

Kansas Fed (hyperlink to reports):

z kansas_man.PNG

Dallas Fed (hyperlink to reports):

z dallas_man.PNG

Philly Fed (hyperlink to reports):

z philly fed1.PNG

New York Fed (hyperlink to reports):

z empire1.PNG

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 Dallas Fed survey (light blue bar).

Comparing Surveys to Hard Data:

z survey1.png

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.



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