The Richmond Fed declined slightly, ticking 12.

Expectations were for a reading of 13, unchanged from December.

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Manufacturing in the Fifth District maintained a steady pace of growth, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Shipments continued at about last month’s pace, while the volume of new orders edged up. New hiring softened, while the average workweek picked up and wage growth remained solid. The backlog of new orders slowed and vendor lead time flattened in January, as capacity utilization continued to rise.

Manufacturers were less buoyant about their future business conditions than they were in December. However producers continued to look for solid growth in shipments and new orders. Compared to last month’s expectations, backlogs of new orders were expected to build more slowly and capacity utilization was expected to grow on pace with last month’s outlook. Additionally, survey participants expected shorter vendor lead times than previously anticipated.

Manufacturers looked for faster growth in the average work week, with slower increases in hiring and wages. Expectations for raw materials and finished goods prices rose at a slower rate in January. Additionally, manufacturers expected slower growth in prices paid and prices received over the next six months compared to last month’s predictions.

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