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Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity

January 25, 2022

Fifth District manufacturing activity softened somewhat in January, according to the most recent survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The composite index fell from 16 in December to 8 in January, due to declines in the indexes for new orders and employment. The third component in the composite index, the index for shipments, increased slightly to 14 in January from 12 in December. The backlog of orders index dropped considerably in January, while the index for vendor lead time remained high and inventories indexes remained near historic lows. Firms' perceptions about changes in local business conditions remained slightly negative; however, firms are optimistic about future conditions.

Reported hiring moderated in January as fewer manufacturing firms increased employment compared to December. Additionally, firms continued to report challenges finding the skills that they need. The wage index increased to 40, which is the second highest value on record. Firms expect wages to continue increasing, with the expected wage index remaining firmly in expansionary territory.

The average growth rate of prices paid and prices received by survey participants increased in January.

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