In December, the seasonally adjusted composite index of manufacturing activity lost four points, settling at 5 from November’s reading of 9. Among the index’s components, shipments fell five points to 6, the gauge for new orders was almost unchanged at 10, and the jobs index turned negative, losing six points to -3.
Other indicators varied. The index for capacity utilization moved higher, adding six points to 3, while the backlogs of orders slipped two points to end at -11. The delivery times index picked up three points to 3, while our gauges for inventories were mixed in December. The raw materials inventory index gained three points to finish at 24, while the finished goods lost seven points to 12.
Labor market conditions edged lower at District plants in December. The manufacturing employment index turned negative, losing six points to settle at -3, and the average workweek indicator lost four points to end at -2. However, the wage index held steady at 10.