Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region were off the charts bullish as reported today. The broadest indicators of overall activity - shipments, new orders, and employment - all saw noticeable jumps from January.
The February Richmond manufacturing activity increased eight points to 20 from January's reading of 12. Also, the new orders component jumped 7 points to finish at 21.
The prices paid remained in check with raw material prices increasing at a 2.25% annual rate while finished goods rose at 0.97%. These numbers are all down from considerably higher levels in 2011.
As can be seen from the chart below, this report tends to be very volatile. Since the 2008 financial crisis, this the 3rd run the index has made towards the +20 level. A level that suggests a very healthy sector. Unfortunately, the last 2 trips only saw fleeting success as the index quickly declined back towards the flatline.
Figure - Richmond Fed Manufacturing Activity
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