Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Sector Activity Expanded in March

by Bill McBride on 3/22/2016 10:06:00 AM

From the Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Sector Activity Expanded; New Orders and Shipments Increased

Fifth District manufacturing activity expanded in March, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Shipments and the volume of new orders increased this month. Employment advanced at a slightly faster pace in March, while average wages grew moderately and the average workweek lengthened. Prices of raw materials and finished goods rose at a faster pace compared to last month.

Overall, manufacturing activity increased markedly in March. The composite index for manufacturing climbed to a reading of 22, the highest since April 2010. The index for shipments added 38 points and the new orders index advanced 30 points, finishing at strong readings of 27 and 24, respectively. Manufacturing employment grew at a slightly faster pace this month; the employment indicator added two points to end at 11.
emphasis added
Based on the regional surveys released so far for March, it seems likely the ISM manufacturing index will suggest expansion in March after five months of contraction.