Richmond Fed Manufacturing: August Composite Little Changed

Today the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Composite Index was unchanged from last month's 14. had forecast 12.0. Because of the highly volatile nature of this index, we include a 3-month moving average to facilitate the identification of trends, now at 13.0, indicates expansion. Seasonal adjustment factors were recalculated to better reflect current economic trends and the entire series was revised. The complete data series behind today's Richmond Fed manufacturing report, which dates from November 1993, is available here.

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

Richmond Fed Manufacturing

Here is the latest Richmond Fed manufacturing overview.

Reports on Fifth District manufacturing activity were largely unchanged in August, according to the latest survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The composite index remained at 14 in August, with an increase in the employment index offsetting a decrease in the shipments index and a very slight decline in the new orders metric. Although the employment index rose from 10 to 17 in August, other measures of labor market activity—wages and average workweek—were largely unchanged.

Expectations around manufacturing activity six months ahead were somewhat tempered from July, but manufacturers remained optimistic. Every index for expected activity was well into positive territory, although almost all of the indexes declined from July to August. The one exception was the measure for expected lead time, which rose from 7 in July to 10 in August.

Survey responses show that growth in both prices paid and prices received moderated in August. Meanwhile, reports on inventory levels were little changed, with the index for finished goods inventories down from 17 to 15 and the index for raw materials inventories rising from 17 to 19. 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.