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Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Sector Activity Strengthened

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (08/26/14)

Fifth District manufacturing activity continued to improve in August, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (VA). The composite index for manufacturing climbed to a reading of 12, the highest reading since March 2011. Although manufacturing employment and average wages rose at a slower pace this month, the average workweek lengthened. The manufacturing employment index fell two points this month to 11. The average workweek index rose five points to eight, while the index for average wages fell five points to 11.

Manufacturers anticipate stronger business conditions during the next six months. They expect faster growth in shipments and new orders and believe order backlogs will grow more quickly. Survey participants’ outlook for the months ahead also include faster growth in average wages and the average workweek, with an increase in hiring. However, the index for expected employment dropped one point from last month’s reading to 18.