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Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Remained Soft in April

  • Written by Syndicated Publisher No Comments Comments
    April 29, 2015

    The Fifth District includes Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas, the District of Columbia and most of West Virginia. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is the region’s connection to the nation’s Central Bank.

    The complete data series behind the latest Richmond Fed manufacturing report (available here) dates from November 1993. The chart below illustrates the 21st century behavior of the diffusion index that summarizes the individual components.

    The April update shows the manufacturing composite at -3, up from -8 last month. Above zero indicates expanding activity; below zero indicates contraction. Today’s composite number was a tick below theInvesting.com forecast of -2.

    Because of the highly volatile nature of this index, the chart below includes a 3-month moving average, now at -3.7, to facilitate the identification of trends.

    Here is a snapshot of the complete Richmond Fed Manufacturing Composite series.

    Click to View
    Click for a larger image

    Here is the latest Richmond Fed manufacturing overview.

    Manufacturing activity remained soft in April, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Shipments, order backlogs, and the volume of new orders declined, although at a slower pace compared to last month. Manufacturing employment grew mildly, while the average workweek increased and wages rose slightly.

    Here is a somewhat closer look at the index since the turn of the century.

    Click to View
    Click for a larger image

    Is today’s Richmond composite a clue of what to expect in the next PMI composite? We’ll find out when the next Manufacturing ISM Report on Business is released.

    Because of the high volatility of this series, we should take the data for any individual month with the proverbial grain of salt.

    Images: Flickr (licence attribution)

    About The Author

    My original dshort.com website was launched in February 2005 using a domain name based on my real name, Doug Short. I’m a formerly retired first wave boomer with a Ph.D. in English from Duke. Now my website has been acquired byAdvisor Perspectives, where I have been appointed the Vice President of Research.

    My first career was a faculty position at North Carolina State University, where I achieved the rank of Full Professor in 1983. During the early ’80s I got hooked on academic uses of microcomputers for research and instruction. In 1983, I co-directed the Sixth International Conference on Computers and the Humanities. An IBM executive who attended the conference made me a job offer I couldn’t refuse.

    Thus began my new career as a Higher Education Consultant for IBM — an ambassador for Information Technology to major universities around the country. After 12 years with Big Blue, I grew tired of the constant travel and left for a series of IT management positions in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. I concluded my IT career managing the group responsible for email and research databases at GlaxoSmithKline until my retirement in 2006.

    Contrary to what many visitors assume based on my last name, I’m not a bearish short seller. It’s true that some of my content has been a bit pessimistic in recent years. But I believe this is a result of economic realities and not a personal bias. For the record, my efforts to educate others about bear markets date from November 2007, as this Motley Fool article attests.
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