US 5th District Factory Index Falls to 10-Month Low

The Manufacturing Activity Index in the Richmond area decreased to -11 in December 2023 from -5 in November, the lowest in ten months. Shipments plummeted from -8 to -17, new orders declined from -5 to -14, and employment slightly dropped from 0 to -1. The majority of firms witnessed a reduction in backlogs as the index remained negative. Conversely, the vendor lead time index improved from -4 to 1, showcasing the first positive reading since June 2022. Furthermore, December saw an increase in the average growth rates of prices paid and prices received, along with a slight rise in expected price changes over the next 12 months. Although the index for future local business conditions remained unchanged at -5, firms maintained a generally pessimistic outlook in this area, as the index inched up but stayed in negative territory.

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