Richmond Fed Manufacturing: Activity Expands in February

Today the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Composite Index increased 5 points to 17 from last month's 12. had forecast 10. Because of the highly volatile nature of this index, we include a 3-month moving average to facilitate the identification of trends, now at 12.3, indicates expansion. The complete data series behind today's Richmond Fed manufacturing report (available here), which dates from November 1993.

Here is a snapshot of the complete Richmond Fed Manufacturing Composite series.

Richmond Fed Manufacturing

Here is the latest Richmond Fed manufacturing overview.

Fifth District manufacturing activity expanded in February, as shipments increased and the volume of new orders rose broadly, according to the latest survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Employment gains were more common and longer workweeks prevailed. Wage increases were more widespread. Prices paid for inputs rose more rapidly than in January, and prices received also accelerated.

Looking to the six months ahead, manufacturing executives anticipated robust business conditions, with strong growth in shipments and new orders, along with higher capacity utilization. Expectations moderated for vendor lead times. Manufacturers' outlook on employment was similar to a month ago, with expectations for increased hiring and additional wage growth.

Survey respondents expected prices of inputs to moderate compared to the current month and prices received to rise slightly faster in the six months ahead. Link to Report

Here is a somewhat closer look at the index since the turn of the century.

since 2000

Is today's Richmond composite a clue of what to expect in the next PMI composite? We'll find out when the next ISM Manufacturing survey is released (below).

Because of the high volatility of this series, we should take the data for any individual month with the proverbial grain of salt.