Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Richmond Fed: "Manufacturing Sector Activity Remained Soft"

by Bill McBride on 4/28/2015 10:22:00 AM

From the Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Sector Activity Remained Soft; Employment and Wages Grew Mildly

Overall, manufacturing conditions remained soft in April. The composite index for manufacturing moved to a reading of −3 following last month's reading of −8. The index for shipments and the index for new orders gained seven points in April, although both indicators finished at only −6.

Manufacturing employment edged up a point this month, with the index ending at 7. The average workweek lengthened, moving the index up eight points to end at 4. The average wage index added one point to end at 9.
emphasis added
This is the last of the regional surveys for April.  Here is a graph comparing the regional Fed surveys and the ISM manufacturing index:

Fed Manufacturing Surveys and ISM PMI Click on graph for larger image.

The New York and Philly Fed surveys are averaged together (yellow, through April), and five Fed surveys are averaged (blue, through April) including New York, Philly, Richmond, Dallas and Kansas City. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) PMI (red) is through March (right axis).

It seems likely the ISM index will be weak again, and could even show contraction for April.  The ISM Manufacturing Index for April will be released on Friday, May 1st, and the consensus is for an increase to 52.0 from 51.5 in March.