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B usiness Conditions
S eventh
FEDERAL

R e ser v e

f

d ist r ic t

M O N T H L Y R E V I E W P U B L IS H E D BY T H E
F E D E R A L RESERVE BAN K OF CHICAGO

Volume 13, No. 6

General Summary
H IL E numerous seasonal gains in business
and industry in the Seventh district were
shown by the April data reported to this bank, defi­
nite signs of a general broadening of activity are
still lacking. The steel industry remains at ap­
proximately 90 per cent of capacity with, however,
a weakening price trend; department store trade,
owing to the lateness of Easter, moved upward
in the majority of centers as compared with April
a year ago, as well as registering a marked increase
over March. Automobile production and distribu­
tion, wholesale and retail, reflecting spring buying
on the part of the public, showed a considerable
increase over March, while the April retail distribu­
tion figures showed a smaller decrease in compari­
son with April last year than had been shown by
the year-to-year comparison in the preceding
month. Meat packing, though still under last year,
moved upward slightly in April as compared with
the prior month.
Seasonal influences effected improvement in
some phases of the employment situation; factory
employment declined, but this recession appears to
have been to a degree offset by absorption of work­
ers in the slightly accelerated construction indus­
try, in farm and road work, bridge building, and
other outdoor activities, with a resultant declining
number of workers in relation to the number of
jobs available in the larger industrial centers.
Building continued below last year, but showed
an upward movement over March. Lumber distri-

W

bution, while improved as compared with March,
was low in April for this season of the year.
The volume of reserve bank credit extended in
the district declined during the four weeks ended
May 14, reflecting lower volume of borrowing by
member banks and lessened holdings of accep­
tances by the Reserve bank. Demand for commer­
cial loans increased very moderately at reporting
member banks. Rates were slightly easier in
Chicago.

Credit Conditions and Money Rates
A decline in member bank borrowing at the
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, together with
a lessened amount of acceptances purchased by the
Reserve bank, during the four weeks ended May 14,
were the principal causes for the drop of over 14
million dollars during the period in the amount of
reserve bank credit extended in the Chicago district.
Member bank borrowings amounted to only $17,967,000 on May 14, a decline of approximately 7
million dollars from a month previous. This de­
crease was mainly the result of an excess in local
Treasury expenditures over receipts, partially offset
by a flow of funds jout of the district through inter­
district settlements for commercial and financial
transactions.

FE D E R A L R ES ER V E BANK OF CHICAGO, SELE C T E D ITEM S OF
CONDITION
(Amounts in millions of dollars)
M ay 14
1930
Total Bills and Securities.......................... $106.0
Bills Discounted ............................................ 18.0
Bills Bought .................................................... 17.4
U . S. Government Securities...................... 70.6
Total Reserves ................................................ 522.5
Total Deposits ................................................ 352.9
Federal Reserve Notes in Circulation.... 237.8

Ratio of Total Reserves to Deposit and
Federal Reserve Note Liabilities
Combined .....................................................




88.4%

C hange F rom
A p r il 16
M ay 15
1930
1929
$— 19.4
$— 15.3
— 6.9
— 70.5
— 8.6
+ 6.8
+ 0.2
+ 4 4 .3
— 17.3
— 37.2
— 3.9
+ 6.3
— 29.5
— 66.8

+

L9

+

May 31, 1 9 3 0

2.5

Compiled May 27, 1930

During the past four weeks, a slightly heavier
demand for commercial loans was evident in the dis­
trict, while the volume of security loans, as meas­
ured by the aggregate for reporting member banks,
on May 14 showed a moderate recession from the
mid-April figure. Rates have tended slightly down­
ward ; the average rate earned by six large Chicago
banks on loans and discounts during the calendar
month of April was 5.27 per cent, as against 5.55 in
March and 6.17 in April 1929. The prevailing rate
on customers’ prime commercial loans the week
ended May 15 ranged from 4y2 to 5y2 per cent in
six large downtown banks, and from 3 ^ to 6 in
ten smaller institutions, registering little change
from quotations for the corresponding week in
April. In Detroit, the average rate earned during
the month of April by five large banks was 5.85, a
slight downward movement from the 5.99 per cent
in March and comparing with 5.96 in April 1929;
the prevailing rate on customers’ commercial loans
in that city for the week ended May 15 was 5 to 6
per cent. A number of smaller centers in the dis­
trict report a slight softening in rates, but quota­
tions in general are unchanged from a month ago.
C o m m e r c ia l

P aper

Reports from nine dealers in the Middle West
show that commercial paper sales remained in good
volume during April, being 94 per cent above the
same month a year ago; they were lower, however,
than for any other month since December and 27
per cent less than in March. The latter recession
was attributed principally to a decrease in supply
and in a lesser degree to some falling off in demand.
Rates for the month ranged from 3 J4 and 4 per cent
for low to 4 and 4*4 per cent for high, with the cus­
tomary charge 3j^ to 4j4 per cent. Commercial
paper outstandings, as reported by five of the deal­
ers, totaled 9 per cent less than on March 31 and 30
per cent in excess of April 30, 1929.
The sales of four Chicago concerns aggregated
3 y2 per cent larger for the first half of May than
for the corresponding period a month earlier. De­
mand averaged good and the supply was fair. Sell­
ing rates closed on May 15 at 4 and 4^4 per cent
for high to 3*4 and 3^4 per cent for low; a pre­
ponderance of the paper moved at
to 4 per cent.
C h ic a g o

O pen

B il l

M arket

The Chicago bill market was less active from
April 10 to May 14 than at any other time since
the period ended June 12, 1929, according to a
compilation for five reporting dealers. Average
weekly purchases decreased 61 per cent from the
high level which obtained from March 13 to April
9, but were 20 per cent heavier than for the correspond­
ing period a year ago; sales decreased 50 and 19 per
CONDITION O F REPORTING M EM BER BANKS, SEVEN TH
DISTRICT
(Amounts in millions of dollars)
M ay 14

1930
Total Loans and Investments...... ................ ...$3,248
Loans on Securities ........ .............................. ... 1,257
All other Loans.................................................. ... 1,313
Investments ......................................................... ... 678
Net Demand Deposits..................................... ... 1,927
Time Deposits .................................................... ... 1,202
4
Borrowings from Federal Reserve Bank..

Page 3




C hange F rom
A p r il 16
M ay 15

1930
$ - 9
— 48
+28
+ 11

+22
— 8
— 4

1929
$— 58
+48
— 73
— 33
+78
— 36
— 58

cent in the respective comparisons. A fair supply of
acceptances was reported with demand rather limited.
Local banks continued to take bills in fairly liberal
amounts, while purchases by out-of-town banks
were meager during the entire period. Rates firmed
during the latter part of April but showed a further
decline in May, closing on May 14 at 2*4 per cent
for 30-day offerings to 2^4 per cent for those of 180
days. Acceptances were drawn for grain, cotton,
sugar, coffee, metals, ore, wool, merchandise, pack­
ing-house products, and miscellaneous commodi­
ties. May 14 holdings totaled 33 per cent less than
those on April 9 and were 29 per cent below the
corresponding Wednesday of last year.
B a n k er s’ A cceptan ces

Seventh district transactions in bankers’ accept­
ances declined sharply in April from the peak levels
which obtained a month earlier, the recession being
principally due to a temporary firming of rates.
The aggregate value of bills accepted by fourteen
reporting banks was 33 per cent less than in March
and on a level with August 1929, though 64 per cent
greater than last April. Purchases decreased to the
lowest level of any month since last September
but continued considerably in excess of a year
ago. Sales remained in record volume, owing to
a continuation of purchases by foreign central
banks; the volume, however, totaled 24 per cent less
than in the preceding month. Acceptance holdings
of reporting banks were reduced 69 per cent from
March 31 and 54 per cent from a year ago. The
liability for outstanding acceptances declined 11 per
cent on April 30 from the end of March but was 64
per cent greater than for the corresponding date of
1929. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in­
creased its purchases of bankers’ acceptances $10,000,000, or 28 per cent, in April over March; its
portfolio of this class of investment decreased
slightly to $19,428,847 at the close of April.
During the first half of May, three banks in
Chicago accepted approximately the same amount of
bills in the aggregate as during the corresponding
weeks of April. May acceptances were drawn for
grain, sugar, tobacco, merchandise, iron and steel,
coffee, packing-house products, and miscellaneous
commodities.
S a v in g s D e p o s it s

Savings deposits on May 1 at 194 banks in the
Seventh Federal Reserve district fell 3 per cent be­
low the corresponding month of 1929, with all states
showing a decline. The number of accounts and
the average account were likewise below the fig­
ure for May 1,1929, although, individually, Wiscon­
sin registered a slight increase in the number of
VOLUME OF PA YM EN T B Y CHECK SEV EN TH DISTRICT
(Amounts in millions of dollars)
A pr . 1930

Chicago ................... ................. ........... ........ $4,199
Detroit, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis 1,562

P er Ce n t of I ncrease
or D ecrease F rom
M ar. 1930
A pr . 1929

— 3.6
— 0.2

— 5.7
— 9.1

Total four larger cities................. ........ 5,761
34 smaller centers.............................. ........ 1,026

— 2.7
+ 1.4

— 6.6
— 5.5

Total 38 centers___________ ____ ........ 6,787

— 2.1

— 6.5

depositors, while Illinois and Indiana showed a
small gain in the average account. In the compari­
son with April 1, very little change was shown in
the amount of regular deposits; the number of ac­
counts declined somewhat, which resulted in a
small gain in the average account. Twenty-five
banks in Chicago on May 1 reported an increase
of over a million dollars in the amount of regular
savings deposits as compared with a month pre­
vious, with 2,688 less accounts.
S e c u r it y

M a rkets

Irregularity prevailed in the Chicago bond mar­
ket during April, with prices falling somewhat be­
low the peaks established in the middle of March.
This was due partly to the increased activity of the
stock market and to the large amount of new offer­
ings available. New issues were spread generally
among public utilities, railroads, municipal, and for­
eign groups. Retail distribution during the month
failed to equal the volume of new bond offerings,
and as a result, a tendency developed the latter
part of the month for bonds to accumulate in deal­
ers’ hands. Institutions and banks were the princi­
pal buyers throughout April. During the first two
weeks of May activity increased, and the heavier
demand aided in reducing the accumulated inven­
tory on dealers’ shelves. The influence of easier
money largely brought about this situation. The
average price of twenty leading- stocks* on the Chi­
cago Stock Exchange, after dropping rather sharp­
ly early in May, had recovered considerably by May
14, when it reached $150.09. The following week,
however, a downward trend was again in evidence,
$145.33 on May 21 comparing with $158.78 on
April 21.
•Chicago Journal of Commerce.

Agricultural Products
Reports sent direct to this bank, early in May,
by county agricultural agents representing 267,983
farmers located in 194 counties, indicate that the
1930 crop of pigs in the Seventh Federal Reserve
district was nearly the same as last year, although
an increase was shown for Iowa and Wisconsin and
for one-third of the counties in Michigan, Indiana, and
Illinois. The district crop of lambs aggregated about
2y2 per cent larger this year than in 1929.
Farm work has made rapid progress this season
in direct contrast to the delay experienced last
spring, being one to two weeks ahead of the usual
schedule on May 1, with seeding of small grain
practically completed and corn planting well under
way. The condition of growing grain, with the
possible exception of winter wheat, was good to
excellent; in some localities, however, that of oats
was only fair. The condition of tame hay and pas­
tures was under the average for May 1. Some re­
duction in potato acreage was reported in compari­
son with planting intentions at the beginning of
April. The outlook for fruit was materially re­
duced during the last week of April because of frost
damage in Indiana, Illinois, Southern Iowa, and the
lower tier of counties on the eastern shore of Lake
Michigan; prospects in other parts of the district,
with the possible exception of a few northern coun­



ties that experienced frosts on May 16, 17, and 18,
are as good or better than a year ago. Present in­
dications suggest a small production of peaches and
sour cherries, a fair crop of pears, and a fair to
good crop of apples. Warmer weather would benefit
all crops.
CROP PRODUCTION
Estimated by the U. S. Bureau of Agricultural Economics on the basis
of May 1 condition.
(In thousands of bushels)
F ive S tates I ncluding
S even th D istr ic t
F orecast
F in a l

1930
W inter wheat .... 76,285
Rye ...................... 8,574

1929
86,722
8,714

G r a in

F orecast

1930
525,070
46,831

U n ited S tates
F in a l
1924-28
1929
A verage

578,336
40,629

550,636
50,851

M a r k e t in g

April receipts of wheat at interior primary mar­
kets in the United States continued the decline
noted in March and totaled less than in April 1929.
Reshipments were higher than in the preceding
month, though below a year ago. Exports rose
above the exceedingly low figure for March, but
did not reach the usual volume for April. At Eng­
lish markets prospects for light shipments from the
southern hemisphere and the decline in grade of
some European varieties brought renewed attention
to American hard winter wheat. Future trading
in wheat on the Chicago Board of Trade recovered
23 per cent from March and totaled 14 per cent
more than a year previous. Prices averaged better for
the month than in March, but in response to possible
shortages of storage space within the next few months,
closed at about the low levels of the middle of March.
Corn receipts and shipments at the same markets
rose in April to a figure larger than last April and
well above the five-year average for the month.
A larger movement of oats than last month or a year
ago was also recorded. The volume of trading in
corn futures declined to 41 per cent below the April
1929 volume. Corn and oat prices tended downward
from the partial recovery shown at the end of
March and early April.
M o v e m e n t o f L iv e S t o c k

A further increase in the receipts of cattle, lambs,
and calves was reported at public stock yards in
the United States during April; the marketing
of hogs continued to decline, as is usual at this
season. Receipts of all live stock, with the excep­
tion of lambs, were at a lower level than last April
or the 1925-29 average for the month. Reshipments
to feed lots showed a seasonal expansion over
March but totaled less than for the corresponding
period of 1929 or the five-year average.
(In thousands)
C attle

Yards in Seventh District,
April, 1930 ............................. ..........
Federally Inspected Slaughter,
United States
April, 1930 ............................... ..........
March, 1930 ............................. ..........
April, 1929 ............................... ..........

H ogs

L ambs
S h e ep

and

Calves

196

675

335

157

635
615
662

3,480
3,392
3,761

1,387
1,358
1,119

455
388
460

AVERAGE PR IC ES OF LIV E STOCK
(P er hundred pounds at Chicago)
W e e k E nded
M ay 17,
1930
Native Beef Steers (average)i...... $11.00
F at Cows and Heifers .......... ___ 8.35
Calves ........................................... ....... 10.00
Hogs (bulk of sales) ............ . ........ 10.05
Yearling Sheep......................... ....... 7.00
Lambs ........................................... ....... 9.55

A pr il
1930
$12.05
8.60
9.80
10.00
7.65
9.35

M onths of
M arch
1930
$12.35
8.75
11.20
10.20
8.40
10.20

A p r il
1929
$13.50
10.70
13.35
11.50
14.00
16.15

Page' 3

M eat

pared with a five-year average of 7,139,000 pounds.
Prices remained steady throughout the month, aver­
aging about the same as in March.
Receipts of American cheese at Wisconsin pri­
mary markets, indicative of production at factories
within the state, continued to expand during the
four weeks ended May 3, gaining 15 per cent over
the preceding period and 4 per cent over the corre­
sponding four weeks last year; redistribution of the
commodity, however, decreased 3 and 4 per cent in
the respective comparisons. Total inventories of
cheese in the United States remained approximately
7,000,000 pounds in excess of the 5-year average for the
month, despite a further decline on May 1 from a
month earlier. Prices held barely steady during
April.

P a c k in g

Production at slaughtering establishments in the
United States gained 3 per cent in April over
March but fell 5 per cent below a year ago. Pay­
rolls at the close of the month showed approxi­
mately the same number of persons employed in the
industry as at the end of March and recorded an in­
crease of 2y2 per cent in hours worked and of iy 2
per cent in total earnings. Trade in domestic
markets averaged good for smoked meats and dry
salt pork, in anticipation of the Easter trade, but
was rather slow for other packing-house products.
Sales billed to domestic and foreign customers
increased 6 per cent in April, which is unusual for
the month, but aggregated 4 per cent less than
for the corresponding period of 1929. Lamb, veal,
carcass beef, and pork loin prices declined from
March, while those for other commodities remained
practically unchanged. Lard quotations, however,
trended downward during the period, although the
average for the month as a whole was higher than
in March. Some further reduction in inventories
was shown on May 1. A fair to good domestic
demand was reported following the close of the Len­
ten season. April shipments for export totaled
considerably less in volume than a month earlier,
and there was a decline in consignment inventories
abroad. Demand from Europe was limited, prin­
cipally because of the low prices prevailing for
competitive vegetable fats. Quotations in European
markets—especially in the United Kingdom—ruled
somewhat under United States parity.

Industrial Employment Conditions
The number of men employed in reporting lines
of industry in the Seventh district continued to de­
cline in the period from March 15 to April 15. An
improvement over the preceding month shown in
non-manufacturing groups, was offset by declines
in eight of the ten manufacturing groups surveyed.
Six of these—textiles, lumber and wood products,
metals, leather, paper and printing, and food prod­
ucts—have failed to show any increase for two
months, while vehicles and chemical products de­
clined in April after having shown betterment a
month previous. Manufacturing payrolls followed
practically the same trend as the number of men
employed, recording a decrease for the total of ten
groups. Total earnings of all groups, however, rose
slightly, owing to expansion in public utilities in
Illinois and in construction work in Illinois and
Wisconsin. In the textiles group, the production
of men’s clothing registered a seasonal decline in
employment. Curtailment in Illinois furniture fac­
tories and in saw mills and box factories in W is­
consin influenced the wood products group. In
metals and metal products, makers of finished prod­
ucts lost more than primary producers, machinery
and electrical apparatus continuing to decline. Mis­
cellaneous leather goods decreased considerably,
while boots and shoes maintained about the level of
the preceding month. The largest expansion in
manufacturing employment and payrolls was re-

D a ir y P r o d u c t s

Creamery butter production in the Seventh Fed­
eral Reserve district showed a further seasonal
expansion of 17 per cent in April but remained
under a year ago, the decline from April 1929 aver­
aging 10 per cent. Sales of the commodity, as re­
ported by sixty-one concerns in the district, totaled
9 per cent more than in March and 1^4 per cent in
excess of last April. Statistics of the American As­
sociation of Creamery Butter Manufacturers reflect
a trend in United States production similar to that
of the Seventh district. Creamery butter inven­
tories at cold-storage warehouses and packing plants
in the United States continued to decline, although
on May 1 they totaled 22,948,000 pounds as com­

EM PLO YM EN T AND EARNINGS—SEVEN TH FE D E R A L R ES ER V E DISTRICT

I ndustrial Groups

N um ber
OF

N u m ber

of

W age E arners

W e e k E nded
M arch 15
A p r il 15
1930
1930

T otal E arnings

P er Cent
C hange

Metals and metal products (other than vehicles)....
V eh icles_____________________ __________ ________
Textiles and textile products.......... ..............................
Food and related products...................................... - ....
Stone, clay, and glass products.....................................
Lumber and its products..................................... .............
Chemical products ................................ .........................
Leather products ...............................................................
Rubber products* .............................................................
Paper and printing.............................................................
Manufacturing (total o f 10 groups)...........................

532
70
136
303
115
230
62
68
6
257
1,779

188,121
39,415
28,191
46,594
12,494
27,809
9,672
16,710
3,537
34,226
406,769

192,953
40,316
29,885
46,686
11,171
28,969
9,814
17,057
3,257
34,666
414,774

— 2.5
— 2.2
— 5.7
— 0.2
+ 11.8
— 4.0
— 1.4
— 2.0

+

8.6

Merchandising** ................. ....................................... ......
Public Utilities ..................................................................
Coal M in in g ................. ................................................. ......
Building and Construction..............................................
Employment (total of 14 groups)________________

136

28,217
96,740
9,385
12,197
553,308

28,001
95,525
10,209
10,565
559,074

+
+

0.8
1.3

•Wisconsin only. **Illin ois and Wisconsin.
Page 4




77
36
206
2,234

— 1.3
— 1.9

— 8.1

+ 15.4
— 1.0

W e e k E nded
A p r il 15
M arch 15
1930
1930
$ 5,655,009
1,197,939
565,465
1,244,913
344,519
609,510
256,244
336,754
80,542
1,065,545
11,356,440

$ 5,733,545
1,186,980
647,672
1,226,913
303,181
634,412
2 5 8 ,5 7 4
356,113
70,523
1,074,676
11,492,589

751,108
3 ,3 0 0 ,2 3 4
205,991
381,502
15,995,275

744,852
3,10 0 ,2 7 8
237,098
348,166
15,922,983

P er C ent
C hange
— 1.4
+ 0.9
— 12.7
+ 1.5
+ 13.6
— 3.9
— 0.9
— 5.4
+ 14.2
— 0.8

— 1.2

+
+
—
+
+

0.8
6.4
13.1
9.6
0.5

corded by the stone, clay, and glass products group,
in which gain all industries of the group shared.
In contrast to the continued recession in number
employed during the four months of 1929, the
ratio of applicants to positions available in cities
having free employment offices has shown im­
provement in Illinois each month since January,
and in Indiana and Iowa since February. One fac­
tor, if not the major one, in this apparent improve­
ment in unemployment is the departure of large
numbers of unemployed from the industrial centers
to regions having more diversified activity and to
farms; and, in addition, the more recent engaging
of casual labor for outdoor construction since the
advent of good weather. Changes in the ratios
during April were:
A p r il

M arch

A p r il

1930
209
136
329

1930
Illinois .............................-................... 190
Indiana ................................................. 119
Iowa ............................................ 300

1929
134
93
241

Manufacturing
A u t o m o b il e

P r o d u c t io n

and

D is t r ib u t io n

Schedules of automobile manufacturers were fur­
ther increased in April, output of 374,606 passenger
cars in the United States representing a gain of 12
per cent over the preceding month; production was
30 per cent less than the all-time monthly record
of last April but totaled 3 per cent more than for
the corresponding month of 1928. April truck out­
put of 67,459 increased 5 per cent over March and
compared with 84,346 in the same month a year
ago.
Sales of new cars in the Middle West at whole­
sale and retail, as well as those of used cars, con­
tinued to gain in April, although the expansion over
March was not so large as between February and
March; the increase in the value of cars sold at re­
tail was considerably greater than that in their
number, owing to heavy sales of a high-priced car.
Wholesale distribution in April again showed a de­
cided loss from a year ago, while the decline in
retail sales in the year-to-year comparison was
noticeably smaller than in March. Stocks of both
new and used cars continued to decline and those
of the former averaged smaller than a year ago;
the value of used cars on hand declined in the com­
parison, but the number remained somewhat
heavier. Deferred payment sales constituted 52
per cent of the total retail sales of thirty dealers
in April? which compares with 55j^ per cent in
M IDW EST DISTRIBUTION OF AUTOMOBILES
Changes in April 1930 from previous months
P er C ent
C hange F rom
M arch
1930

New cars
Wholesale—
Number sold...................
Value .........................—
Retail—
Number sold....................
Value ...............................
On hand April 30 —
Number ..........................
Value ...............................
Used cars
Number sold....................
Salable on hand—
Number ...........................
Value ...............................

A p r il
1929

Com panies I ncluded
M arch
1930

A pr il
1929

+ 20.9

— 49.7
— 45.4

29
29

29
29

+ 17.9
+ 35.4

— 19.3
— 23.7

61
61

59
59

— 20.3
— 21.5

— 20.5
— 29.2

62
62

60
60

+ 18.3

I ron a n d S t e e l P roducts

Shipments of finished steel products from plants
in the Chicago district continued in substantial vol­
ume through April, though totaling a little less
than in the preceding month or a year ago. Ingot
production remained at about 95 per cent of capac­
ity during the month, but toward the middle of
May was reduced very slightly to nearer 90 per
cent. Recent new business has been fair in vol­
ume. April pig iron production in the Illinois and
Indiana district showed little change from March,
but the daily average of 22,739 tons was lower than
for any other April since 1926 and compared with
25,610 tons a year ago.
Price weakness has been a feature of the Chi­
cago and other markets since the latter part of
March. The composite price of finished steel prod­
ucts, as compiled by Iron Age for the country as a
whole, dropped from 2.312 cents per pound for March
to 2.264 cents in April; in the early part of May it
was further reduced to 2.228 cents, and again on
May 20 to 2.214. At Chicago, plates, shapes, and
bars, following declines the end of March or in early
April, experienced further revisions downward in
the first week of May, and two weeks later the
first two items dropped another $1 per ton. The
price of pig iron was lowered 50 cents per ton the
end of April to $19.00. Scrap iron and steel prices
at Chicago have also been weak.
Steel casting foundries of the district report in­
creased shipments and production in April over the
preceding month, the tonnage of the former item
gaining 7 per cent and of the latter 6 per cent.
New orders, however, fell off about 27 per cent.
Activity in general was at a lower rate than for the
same month of 1929, shipments declining 17 per
cent in tonnage and production 19 per cent; orders
booked showed a slight increase in the number of
tons but a small decline in value. Shipments of
malleable casting foundries were about the same
in volume as a month previous, while production was
4 per cent smaller and new orders Y iy2 per cent
less, all items being expressed in terms of tonnage.
Activity remained considerably below the level of
a year ago, orders booked totaling 44p£ per cent
less, shipments 27 per cent, and production 32 per
cent smaller. Stove and furnace manufacturers
increased their shipments 12 per cent in April over
March, but the volume was 10 per cent below last
April; orders received declined 12 and 14 per cent
in the respective comparisons; production was
slightly less than in March and a little heavier than
a year ago.
w h o lesa le and

— 11.4

62

60

— 5.1
— 1.3

+ 5.8
— 6.9

62
62

60
60

r e t a il l u m b e r

of

— 37.9
— 28.5
— 29.9

+ 29.1
+ 10.8

121.3
257.8

14
12
12

— 14.0
+ 3.6

+ 1 1 .9
+ 1 9 .5
+ 7.7

A ccounts O utstanding
A p r il 1930

Wholesale .................................. .........
Retail ............................................ ..........

trad e

•N um ber of
A p r il 1930
F irm s
P er Cen t C hange F rom
A p r il 1929
I ncluded
M arch 1930

Wholesale—
Sales in Dollars..................... ..............
Sales in Board Feet........... ..............
Accounts Outstanding ....... ..............
Retail—
Sales in Dollars.................... ..............
Accounts Outstanding ....... ..............
R atio

+ 8.1




the preceding month and is the same as in April
1929.

203 183

D ollar S ales
A prtt. 1929
M arch 1930

to

130.8
305.6

118.2
211.6

•Retail figures refer to number of yards.

Page 5

F u r n it u r e

Furniture manufacturers in the Seventh district
have experienced so far this season a slower de­
cline than usual in orders booked from the peak
month, January, and a retarded movement in ship­
ments. Continuing this trend, April shipments fell
off 17 per cent from March against a three-year
average decline of 14 per cent, although the decline
of 11 per cent in orders booked was average for
the month. Partly responsible for the falling off
in shipments is the large volume of cancellations
made this spring. Those for March were particu­
larly heavy, and the April figures show only a 10
per cent decrease therefrom. Unfilled orders, be­
cause of greater shipments than new orders and the
heavy cancellations, declined 20 per cent. As com­
pared with last year, there were registered large
recessions of 40, 30, and 58 per cent in orders
booked, shipments, and unfilled orders, respectively,
and a comparatively small decrease of 16 per cent
in cancellations, April 1929 having been an unusu­
ally good month. The rate of operations sustained
this April was 2 points lower than the 63 per cent
of March, and compares with 74 per cent main­
tained a year ago.

Building Material, Construction Work
Seventh district lumber distribution showed a
fair increase in April over March, but was still low
for this season. Retailers stand in better position
for the four months of this year than do whole­
salers, as their sales to the end of April were about
92 per cent of last year’s amount, while wholesale
totals for the period averaged only 75 per cent in
the same comparison. Producers in the northern
states were affected by the retarded demand, orders
and shipments for the 1930 period of members of
two associations being about 70 per cent of the
1929 volume. Although production has been slowed
up, this year’s volume amounted to more than 80
per cent of last year’s total to the end of April.
Business of country yards is better sustained than
in the larger centers, but uncertainty regarding
crops and farmer income has been an adverse influ­
ence, just as insufficient credit and the over-built con­
dition are retarding activities in the cities.
Distribution of cement for the first three months
of the year in the five states including the Seventh
district was only 4 per cent below the same three
months of 1929, although March volume was 28 per
cent less than in March 1929 but 14 per cent greater
than for February 1930. Indications are that the
increased shipments from month to month are

largely for road work, other construction lines re­
maining inactive. The demand for brick continues
smaller than in 1929, and curtailment is still in
effect at some plants. Prices of materials remain
steady at the low levels, the only change noted
being a slight decline in brick prices at some cen­
ters.
B u il d in g

Building construction in the Seventh Federal
Reserve district during April increased seasonally
over March remaining, however, below the corre­
sponding month in 1929. Total contracts awarded
amounted to $81,423,777, or 10 per cent greater than
during the preceding month and 25 per cent below
April last year. Of this total, $22,596,552 was for
residential building which followed a similar trend,
increasing 37 per cent over March and declining 57
per cent from the total of a year ago.
Permits issued in 100 cities of the district regis­
tered an increase of 21 per cent in estimated cost
over March, though totaling 61 per cent below last
April. The number of permits issued similarly
showed a gain of 12 per cent over the preceding
month and was 43 per cent under April 1929. In
the comparison with March, total permits issued in
five large cities of the district—Chicago, Detroit,
Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and Des Moines — in­
creased 8 per cent in estimated cost, with Chicago
and Milwaukee the only two cities reflecting a gain.
This total was 66 per cent below the year ago
figure, all five cities showing heavy declines.

Merchandising
Increased sales for April over March were gen­
eral in all reporting lines of wholesale trade except
drugs, where a decline of one per cent was shown in
the comparison; gains averaged 3 per cent in gro­
ceries, 2 per cent in hardware, 5 per cent in dry
goods, 17y2 per cent in shoes, and 6 per cent in
electrical supplies. As in the two preceding months,
groceries continued to be the only line to record
an increase in sales over the corresponding month
of 1929, and was also the only group to show heav­
ier sales for the year through April as compared
with the first four months of 1929, although the
latter gain averaged less than one per cent; in both
of these comparisons, however, the majority of gro­
cery firms had smaller sales. Business in the whole­
sale hardware trade aggregated 15 per cent less in
D EP A R T M E N T ST O R E TR A D E IN A P R IL 1930
P er Cen t C hange
A p r il 1930
F rom
A pr il 1929

W H O L E SA L E TR A D E IN A P R IL 1930
P er C e n t C hange
F rom S a m e M onth L ast Y ear
C ommodity

Groceries ........
Hardware ........
Dry Goods........
Drugs ...............
Shoes ...............
Electrical Sup­
plies --- -------

Page 6

Net Sales

Stocks

P er C en t C hange R atio of A p r il
F our M onths
C ollections
1930 F rom
to A ccounts
F our M onths
O utstanding
1929
M arch 31

Ratio of
Accts. Outstanding to
Accts. Out­
standing Collections Net Sales

L ocality

N e t S ales

1930

+
—
+
+
+

7.3
4.2
4.7
5.4
5.1

+ 4.9
— 12.6
+ 10.5
+ 6.7
— 7.5

— 8.0
— 16.5
— 4.7
— 0.6
— 5.6

32.5
39.6
39.0
46.9
34.9

34.8
45.4
41.3
49.7
37.7

+

3.8

— 0.1

— 8.9

37.1

4 0 .6

N et S ales

+ 2.8
— 20.9
— 17.8
— 5.7
— 5.1

— 14.1
— 5.8
— 5.9
+ 0.6
— 17.1

—
—
—
+
—

10.0
10.7
12.0
1.0
4.3

— 4.2
— 13.8
— 16.3
— 6.3
— 20.1

4 87.2
218.2
323.6
151.3
266.1

Chicago ..........
Detroit ...........
Indianapolis ..
Milwaukee ....
Other Cities ...

— 16.5

— 6.6

— 8.3

— 15.9

138.1

7th District.....




C o n s t r u c t io n

S tocks 'E nd
of M onth

1929

the four months of 1930 than for the same period a
year ago, dry goods sales were 22 per cent less,
those of drugs 7 per cent, shoes 27 per cent, and
electrical supplies 11^ per cent smaller. Stocks
in general trend downward. Prices in most lines
are lower.
Easter trade at Seventh district department
stores effected an increase of 23 per cent for April
over March in the total volume of sales, and because
of the later date of the holiday this year, for the
first time in 1930 business was in excess of the
corresponding month of 1929. For the year through
April, however, sales aggregated 9 per cent under
the same period last year. In this last comparison,
Detroit continued to show the heaviest decline of
the larger cities and was the only one of them to
experience a smaller volume of April business than
a year ago; sales in Milwaukee for the year to date
have been less than one per cent below the first four
months of 1929. Stocks changed little in the aver­
age for the district between the end of March and
April 30, and were about the same as on the same
date last year; the rate of turnover increased slight­
ly as compared with April a year ago but for the
year through April averaged smaller than for the
cumulative period in 1929.
Total sales of twenty-six retail shoe dealers and
the shoe sections of twenty-nine department stores
gained 3 6 y per cent in April over March and ex­
ceeded those of the corresponding month last year
by 21 per cent, but the aggregate for the four
months of 1930 showed a decline of 5p£ per cent
MONTHLY BUSINESS INDICES COMPUTED BY
(Index numbers express a comparison of unit or
unless otherwise indicated. W here figures or latest
following month. Data refer to the Seventh Federal
No. of Apr.
Firm s 1930
Meat Packing— (U. S .)—
Sales (in dollars).......................................... 64
109
Casting Foundries—
Shipments:
92
Steel— In dollars .............................
IS
98
In tons .......................................... IS
72
Malleable— In dollars ............................. 23
103
In tons ................................. 23
Stoves and

Furnaces—

Shipments (in dollars)...............................
Furniture—
Orders (in dollars)........................................
Shipments (in dollars)...............................
Electric Energy—
Output of Plants (K W H )........
Industrial Sales (K W H )..........................
Flour—
Production (in b b ls.).................................
Output of Butter by Creameries—
Production .....................................................
Sales ......... .........................................................
Iron and Steel—
P ig Iron Production:1
Illinois and Indiana...............................
United States ...... ...... ...............................
Steel Ingot Production— (U . S .) 1...........
Unfilled orders U. S. Steel Corp..........
Automobile Production (U . S.) :
Passenger cars ..............................................
Trucks ..............................................................
Stamp Tax Collections— 2
Sales or Transfers of Capital Stock....
Sales of Produce on Exchange—-Futures
U. S. Primary Markets— 3
Grain R eceipts:
Oats .............................................................
C o r n ......... ..... ..............................................
W heat .........................................................
Grain Shipments:
Oats ..............................................................
Com ............... - ...... ................... ...... ...........

11

101

26
26

61
68

8
8

140
189

27

107

72
74

104
102
131
108
120
91
128
179
774
71
47
103
39

50
85
38
‘Average daily production; 2F irst Illinois internal




dollar volume for tl
month shown are i
Reserve D istrict un
Mar.
Apr.
Mar.
1930
1929
1929

from the same period of 1929. Increases over the
preceding month were common to all firms, and a
large majority reported heavier sales than for last
April, while in the comparison for the cumulative
period of each year, only two retail dealers and
less than half the department stores sold more
shoes. Sales of furniture and house furnishings by
dealers and department stores increased 20 per cent
in the aggregate for April over that for March but
were 19 per cent under the total for the same month
a year ago; installment sales by dealers gained 41 y2
per cent in the month-to-month comparison and de­
clined 28 per cent from last April.
In line with other phases of retail distribution,
April sales of twenty-two chains operating 2,920
stores during the month, expanded over March. The
aggregate volume sold gained 6 y per cent over the
preceding month and was 11 per cent heavier than
in April last year, while average sales per unit
showed a similar increase in the month-to-month
comparison but were iy 2 per cent smaller than a
year ago. The number of stores operated, totaled
about the same as in March and gained 13 per cent
over last April. With the exception of drug chains,
increased sales over the preceding month were gen­
eral ; as compared with the corresponding month of
1929, grocery, drug, five-and-ten-cent, cigar, shoe,
men’s and women’s clothing chains had larger sales,
and those of musical instrument and furniture
chains totaled less. All groups except cigars and
women’s clothing reported average sales per store
as smaller than a year ago.
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF CHICAGO

No. of
Firm s
Wholesale Trade—
Net Sales (in dollars) :
103
114
115
Groceries ................................................... 31
Hardware ................................................... 14
Dry Goods ................................................. 10
112
100
86
Drugs ............................................................ 14
92
120
109
Shoes ............................................................ 8
72
95
105
Retail Trade (Dept. Stores)—
102
142
135
Net Sales (in dollars) :
Chicago ....................................................... 30
86
112
96
Detroit ......
4
Indianapolis ...................
5
68
101
95
Milwaukee ................................................... 5
82
108
98
Other Cities .......................
51
Seventh D istrict ...................................... 95
146
156
163
Freight Carloadings— (U . S .) —
189
183
199
Grain and Grain Products........................
Live Stock .....................................................
97
87
87
Coal ...................................................................
Coke ..................................................................
102
88
115
Forest Products ............................................
92
95
99
Ore .....................................................................
Merchandise and Miscellaneous.............
Total ............................................................
129
148
147
Building Construction—
122
107
124
Contracts awarded (in dollars) :
146
124
143
Residential .................................................
92
96
93
Total ............................................................
Perm its:
175
115
183
Chicago ..................................... Number
191
224
170
Cost......
Indianapolis ............................ Number
494
283
426
Cost......
70
76
103
Des Moines ...............................Number
Cost......
Detroit .......................... .............Number
41
43
45
Cost......
104
95
71
Milwaukee .......... ...................... Number
78
50
47
Cost......
Others (4 5 ).................................Number
38
45
44
Cost......
79
63
56
Fifty Cities ...............................Number
48
49
34
Cost......
revenue district; 8Monthly average receipts 1923-24-25 = 100.

a base,
Apr.
1930

Mar.
1930

Apr.
1929

Mar.
1929

97
84
70
103
90

94
82
66
103
73

96
106
85
109
94

92
97
88
115
127

112
162
103
117
104
119

89
125
90
95
91
96

104
168
98
110
99
115

116
167
109
107
107
122

85
74
78
85
80
39
107
95

86
70
80
84
81
24
103
92

79
82
86
102
97
85
116
105

91
72
86
105
95
30
112
100

77
119

56
108

181
158

120
157

18
24
55
33
59
36
63
35
24
73
93
70
60
40

17
17
57
37
47
81
45
40
75
66
62
44
56
32

70
91
71
59
69
53
104
89
110
129
137
139
111
102

54
75
59
88
45
29
77
91
74
107
83
89
74
83

i

Page 7

NATIONAL SUMMARY OF BUSINESS CONDITIONS
(B y

the Federal Reserve Board)

N D U S T R IA L activity increased slightly in April from the rate prevailing
in March. Factory employment declined by the usual seasonal amount, while
factory payrolls showed a smaller reduction than usual. Wholesale prices con­
tinued to decline in April and the first half of May. There \yas a ftrrther
easing of open-market money rates.

I

P roduction

Index of manufactures and minerals combined, ad­
justed for seasonal variations (1923-25 average = 100).

Index numbers of factory employment and payrolls,
without adjustment for seasonal variations (1923-25
average = 100).

Production in basic industries in April was slightly larger than in March
and the Board’s index, which makes allowance for the usual seasonal changes,
shows an increase of about 2 per cent, offsetting a large part of the decrease
in March. Output of automobiles showed the usual seasonal expansion. Steel
output declined seasonally in April and the early part of May. The output
of silk textiles was considerably reduced, and woolen mills curtailed opera­
tions, though less than seasonally. Cotton mills were more active in April,
and there was some increase in stocks. In the first half of May, however, a
program of curtailment was instituted in the industry. In comparison with the
first four months of 1929, a year of exceptionally active business, production
was smaller in almost all major branches of industry, with the exception of
tobacco. In comparison with 1928, however, output was larger in the automo­
bile, petroleum, and silk industries, slightly smaller in steel and coal, and
considerably smaller in cotton and wool textiles, flour, meat packing, automobile
tires, and lumber.
Building contracts awarded during April, according to the F . W . Dodge
Corporation, were 6 per cent larger than in March, reflecting further expansion
in awards for public works and utilities, and some increase in residential con­
struction, largely seasonal in character. In the first two weeks in May, there
was further increase in building activity. In comparison with 1929, awards
in the first four months of the year were 17 per cent smaller, reflecting chiefly
the continued small volume of residential building, which more than offset
increases in public works and in utility construction.
E mployment

and

P ayrolls

Factory employment, which had been decreasing since last September, de­
clined by about one per cent in April, which represents the usual development
for that month, while the reduction in factory payrolls from March to April
was smaller than usual.
D istribution
Department store sales increased during the month by an amount estimated
to be slightly larger than is accounted for by the late Easter holiday. The
value of foreign trade decreased further in April, and for the first four months
of the year, exports were about 20 per cent smaller than a year ago when
trade was exceptionally active. In part this decline reflected the lower level of
wholesale prices.
W holesale P rices

1926

1927

1928

1929

1930

Monthly averages of weekly figures for reporting
member banks. Latest figures, averages of first two
weeks in May 1930.

An increase in wholesale prices in the first week in April was followed by
a substantial decline, which continued into May and brought the level of
prices to the lowest point in a number of years. Prices of important raw
materials, such as wheat, cotton, and silk, declined during most of the period
but steadied somewhat around the middle of May, while prices of silver, hides,
and coffee were comparatively stable. There were fairly continuous price
declines in steel, sugar, raw wool, and the textiles. Copper prices were
reduced further early in May, but recovered somewhat following large pur­
chases for domestic and foreign consumption.
B an k C redit

1926

1927

1928

1929

1930

Monthly rates in the open market in New Y ork:
commercial paper rate on 4- to 6-month paper; accept­
ance rate on 90-day bankers’ acceptances.

Page 8




Loans and investments of member banks increased by about $160,000,000 in
the latter half of April, but declined by $140,000,000 in the first two weeks in
May, both movements reflecting chiefly fluctuations in loans on securities. In­
vestments increased further, while “all other” loans continued to decline, and
on May 14, at $8,560,000,000, were the smallest in more than two years.
The volume of reserve bank credit declined further by $125,000,000 between
the weeks ending April 19 and May 17, largely as a result of the addition of
about $65,000,000 to the stock of monetary gold and of a further substantial re­
duction in the volume of money in circulation, which reflected chiefly smaller
volume of payrolls and declines in retail prices. The System’s holdings of bills
declined, while United States securities and discounts for member banks showed
little change. Money rates on all classes of paper declined further in May. The
discount rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New Y ork was reduced from 3 ^
to 3 per cent on May 2, and that at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston from 4
to V /2 per cent on May 8.


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102