Fifth District manufacturing activity softened to some degree in January.
- The composite index dropped from 16 in December to 8 in January largely driven by declines in the index for new orders and employment.
- The index for shipments increased slightly to 14 in January from 12 posted in December. The backlog of orders index fell significantly in January as the index for vendor lead time remained high, and inventories remained at historic lows.
- Perceptions of companies about changes in the local business environment remained slightly negative, but companies are hopeful about the future outlook.
- Hiring slowed down in January as fewer manufacturing companies increased employment compared to December. Firms reported challenges finding the skills they need.
Manufacturers expect wages to continue rising, with the expected wage index still at expansionary territory. The wage index rose to 40, the second-highest value on record.
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Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond