Manufacturing activity in the Fifth district expanded for the eleventh consecutive month in September, with the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index surging 5 points from the August reading to 19. The unexpected strength exceeded the range of analysts' forecasts and the consensus of a slight decline to 13. Driving the upsurge in activity in September were shipments, which rose 14 points to a reading of 22, the highest level since December 2010.
Strength was broadly supported, however,seen in new orders, up 3 points 20, capacity utilization, up 6 to 16, and vendor lead times, up 8 to 15.
The employment front showed continued vigor after strong gains in the previous month, and though the number of employees fell back 2 points to 17 and wages slipped 1 point 18, the average workweek rose 6 points to 16.
Expectations mostly remained highly optimistic, led by shipments, at 43 and the volume of new orders, at 42. The only blemish on an otherwise beaming with optimism survey was a 12 point drop to 18 in expected capital expenditures.
Inflation pressures increased in both prices paid and received, though remaining moderate. Expectations of price rises on the paid and received side were also up.