Richmond Fed Manufacturing: Activity Improved in September

Today the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Composite Index was at 19 for the month of September from last month's 14. had forecast 13. Because of the highly volatile nature of this index, we include a 3-month moving average to facilitate the identification of trends, now at 15.7, 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 improved in September, according to the latest survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

The composite manufacturing index rose from 14 to 19, supported by a sizable increase in the index for shipments — which, at a reading of 22, is the highest it has been since December 2010 — and a smaller rise in the index for new orders. The third component of the composite index, the employment index, fell slightly. Although the wages index also declined very slightly, there was a notable increase in the average workweek indicator.

Manufacturing expectations were stable across most measures this month, and continued to indicate overall optimism. The only notable changes in expectations were in the index for expected average workweek, which rose from 16 to 25, and the index for expected capital expenditures, which fell from 30 to 18. 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.