Strongest Two-Month Gain in History for Fed Index
Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region contracted at a markedly diminished pace in April, according to the Richmond Fed’s latest survey. Our broadest indicators of overall activity—shipments, new orders and employment—remained in negative territory but the rate of decline moderated considerably from our last report. Evidence of diminished weakness was also reflected in all other indicators. District contacts reported that orders backlogs and vendor delivery times remained negative but improved from March’s readings, while capacity utilization was virtually unchanged. In addition, manufacturers reported somewhat slower growth in inventories.
MP: The chart above (data here) shows the Richmond Fed's monthly manufacturing index back to 1999. The 42-point improvement from February to April 2009 is the largest two month increase in the history of the Richmond's Fed's manufacturing index, going back to 1994.