Manufacturing activity in the fifth federal district surged higher, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond shows.
The key index advanced to 20, eight points higher than a January reading. Economists polled by Bloomberg were looking for a two point advance to 14.
“Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region advanced for the third straight month, according to the Richmond Fed’s latest survey,” the Federal Reserve said in a statement. “Our broadest indicators of overall activity — shipments, new orders and employment — remained in positive territory, and the rate of increase strengthened considerably from our last report. Other indicators were also positive, including backlogs and capacity utilization.”
Across the board, sub-indexes tracking current activity moved higher, with shipments up eight points to 25, jobs gaining nine points to 13 and new orders adding seven points to end at 21.
Within the employment index, data shows the average workweek lengthened while wages declined slightly during the period. Expectations for future hiring rose substantively.
“District manufacturers’ intentions to expand hiring were more bullish in February,” the Fed announced. “The expected manufacturing employment index jumped twelve points to 32 and the average workweek indicator added three points to 10. In addition, the index of expected wages rose seven points to 26.”
Below, updated readings of current activity.
Photo: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is set to report manufacturing activity in the region in a few minutes time, with expectations for a steadily improving picture.
Economists polled by Bloomberg anticipate the index moving to 14, from 12 in January. A reading above zero indicates economic expansion.
The fifth federal district includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of West Virginia. Expectations are for the index to move slightly higher to 13, from 12.