Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Richmond Fed: District Manufacturing Firms Reported Robust Growth in February

by Bill McBride on 2/27/2018 11:14:00 AM

From the Richmond Fed: Fifth District Manufacturing Firms Reported Robust Growth in February

Fifth District manufacturing firms saw robust growth in February, according to the results from the latest survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The composite manufacturing index jumped from 14 in January to 28 in February, the second highest value on record, driven by increases in shipments, orders, and employment. The wages index remained in positive territory at 23, while the available skills metric dropped from −10 in January to −17 in February. Despite greater difficulty finding skilled workers, District manufacturing firms saw strong growth in employment and the average workweek in February. Survey results show that manufacturers expect to see continued growth in the coming months.

Manufacturing firms saw growth accelerate for both prices paid and prices received, with each increasing at the highest rate since April 2017. Firms expect prices to continue to grow at a faster rate in the near future.
emphasis added
This was the last of the regional Fed surveys for February.

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

Based on these regional surveys, it seems likely the ISM manufacturing index will be strong again in February (to be released Thursday, Mar 1st). The consensus is for the ISM to be at 58.6, down from 59.1 in January.