Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region pulled back in October after improving somewhat last month, according to the Richmond Fed’s latest survey. The seasonally adjusted index of overall activity was pushed lower as all broad indicators of activity—shipments, new orders and employment—were in negative territory. Other indicators also suggested additional softness. Capacity utilization turned negative, while backlogs remained negative but improved from its September reading. Moreover, the gauge for delivery times changed little, while raw materials inventories grew at a slightly quicker pace, and growth in finished goods edged lower.
The table is just plain ugly. I’m sure someone will try to put lipstick on this pig, but it’s definitely a pig; Shipments, new orders, capacity utilization, and vendor leadtime all went the wrong way and employees did not improve (and are still being cut.) Worse, prices paid and received both increased and widened, which is the worst possible move you can get.
It’s baked in the cake and the oven timer is about to ring.