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MONTHLY REVIEW
of Credit and Business Conditions
S e c o n d
Federal R eserve A gen t

F e d e r a l

R e s e r v e

D is tr ic t

Federal R eserve Bank, New York

Business Conditions in the United States
RODUCTION of basic commodities and retail trade
increased during October, and the volume of
freight shipments and wholesale trade continued
large. The level of wholesale prices and the volume of
employment showed but little change.

P

P roduction

The Federal Reserve Board’s index of production in
basic industries advanced 3 per cent, in October, after
having declined for four months. The increase for the
month, while due in part to the resumption of anthracite
coal mining, also reflected increases in textiles, lumber,
and sugar, and most other industries included in the
index. Employment at industrial establishments showed
practically no change between September and October.
Contract awards for new buildings increased through­
out the country considerably more than is usual at this
season, and were 25 per cent, larger than in September.
Residential projects formed a larger proportion of the
total than in any earlier month of the year.
Crop estimates by the Department of Agriculture on
November 1 indicated a substantial reduction from the
September forecast in the yield of cotton, but larger
yields of corn, potatoes, and apples.
T rade

Heavy movement of miscellaneous merchandise and
live stock resulted in October in the largest railroad ship­

December 1 , 1923

ments of any month on record. Wholesale trade was 12
per cent, larger than a year ago and sales in all leading
lines except shoes showed increases. Department store
sales were 13 per cent, larger than last October and sales
of mail order houses were the largest of any month since
1919.
P rices

Wholesale prices declined less than one per cent, in
October, according to the index of the Bureau of Labor
Statistics and stood approximately at the level of a year
ago. The principal changes for the month were declines
in the prices of fuel, clothing, metals, and animal prod­
ucts, while wholesale prices of crops, particularly cotton,
increased. During the first half of November the prices
of wheat, hogs, pig iron, and hides receded, and prices
of cotton and cotton goods, cement, and copper advanced.
B a n k C redit

Since the middle of October there has been a slight
decline in demand for credit for commercial and agri­
cultural purposes at member banks in leading cities.
Considerable decreases in borrowings for these purposes
in the New York and Chicago districts were partially off­
set by increases in other districts. Loans secured by
stocks and bonds increased somewhat, while investments
continued to decline and reached the low point for the
year.
The total member bank accommodation at Federal Re­
serve Banks declined between October 17 and November

PEft-CENT.'

(1919 average = 100 Per cent.)




Index of Wholesale Prices, U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
(1913 average = 100 Per cent.)

MONTHLY REVIEW, DECEMBER 1, 1923
o f

B ILLIO N S
OF DOLLARS

V o llar s

1919

. 1920

1921

1922

1923

Bank Credit— 800 Member Banks in Leading Cities

21, and on the latter date was the lowest since the middle
of the year. The total volume of Federal Reserve Bank
credit outstanding, however, remained relatively con­
stant because of increased purchases of bills in the open
market. The volume of Federal Reserve note circulation
declined by about $50,000,000 during the period, while
other forms of money in circulation increased.
Money rates showed an easier tendency and during
the early part of November the open market rate on com­
mercial paper in New York declined from 5-514 to 5
per cent.

Banking Conditions, Second District
Total loans and investments of reporting member
banks in this district showed little net change between
the middle of October and the middle of November.
There was a decrease of slightly over $50,000,000 in
loans made largely for commercial and agricultural pur­
poses, but this was offset by increases in loans on stocks
and bonds and in security investments. Total deposits
showed a gradual upward tendency, and on November
14 were the highest since the first part of July.

Bank Credit— All Federal Reserve Banks

Rediscounts and advances of the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York declined $45,000,000 between October
17 and November 21, and at $126,000,000 were at the
low point of the year. But as holdings of bilk bought in
the open market were $40,000,000 larger, total earning
assets were only slightly lower.
The following diagrams show recent changes in
the loans and deposits of the reporting member banks for
the country as a whole and for New York City and
also show changes in total earning assets and note circu­
lation of all Federal Reserve Banks and of the New York
Reserve Bank. The 1922 average is in each case taken
as a basis for comparison. Both for all districts and for
New York City total loans and investments of reporting
member banks are considerably above the 1922 average,
due chiefly to increases in loans made largely for com­
mercial and agricultural purposes. The expansion of
member bank loans over a year ago has taken place with­
out increase in the volume of credit extended by the
Federal Reserve Banks, but has accompanied net gold
imports amounting to $261,000,000 since Nov. 1, 1922.

P E R C E N T.

PE R ' C E N T .

'+1 r
2

+Ur

■1
f0

+1
0

ALL
DISTRICTS

N E W

ALL
DISTRICTS

Y O R K
r
4

C I T Y

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N E ] iJ
Y O f\K

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C M LO N >
O L. A S

I
V

+8

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y

+6

r
/ c o m i RCIAL
f
LO A

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E O IT

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+

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9

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LOANS

A C AG
VR E

4-10
NOTES

a -*-*- -* ■

I92.Z COVERAGE
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A

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V

G
l \ m t 1IN -

rV
v
EARNIN S
’
ASSETS

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> "
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V

-6

-6
AUG.

5EP.

OCT. MOV.

DEC.

AUG.

SEP. OCT.

MOV. DEC

Loans (including investments), Commercial Loans, and
Deposits of Reporting Member Banks
(1922 average = 100 Per cent.)




AUG. SEP. OCT. MOV. DEC.

E
TS

|

j

_

-4

-4

N

I
DEPO SIT'

t

1922 A rag
V: e

<

-2. »

-2,

)Z A ,
Z V

AUG

1 IN OTE5V-*
I
OCT. NOV. DEC.

5LP.

Note Circulation and Earning Assets of Federal
Reserve Banks (1922 average =
100 Per cent.)

FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT AT NEW YORK

8

Velocity of Bank Deposits

Money Rates

The rate at which deposits were checked out of banks
in leading cities declined during October, notwithstand­
ing increases in certain other phases of business activity.
The decreases were most marked in New York City
and Boston, where the rate of turnover fell to the lowest
points this year, but there were also declines in all
other cities for which figures are available. The fol­
lowing diagram shows the velocity of deposits in 4 lead­
ing cities, after allowing for seasonal variation.

The decline in money rates which became marked
after the middle of October continued during the early
part of November and rates in some instances reached
the lowest points in several months.
The prevailing rate for prime commercial paper de­
clined from 5*4 to 5 per cent., and some sales were made
at 4% per cent., the lowest since the spring. While the
market in New York was limited there was a good de­
mand in the interior for the moderate volume of paper
offered by the dealers. During October the outstanding
paper of 26 dealers increased $19,000,000 to $805,000,000.
Bill rates for maturities up to 120 days were un­
changed at 4 % to 4 ^ per cent, on purchases by the
dealers and 4 to 4 ^ per cent, on sales by them. There
was a good demand, but, owing to unusually heavy sup­
plies arising out of cotton exports, dealers portfolios
at the end of October and in the first part of November
were the largest in more than two years.

Rate of turnover of bank deposits. Allowance is made for usual
seasonal changes

The table below gives figures for a larger group of
cities in terms of the annual rate, after allowing for
usual seasonal changes.
Apr.
N ew York C it y .......................
A lbany.......................................
B uffalo........................................
R ochester...................................
Syracuse.....................................
B oston .................................. ..
C hicago......................................
San Francisco...........................

M ay

June

July

Aug.

Sept.

8 1.4
19.5
2 6.5
23.1
10.3
3 5.5
4 4.9
4 0.2

8 1.0
2 6.0
26.9
2 3.8
10.3
3 6.3
4 5.8
4 1.9

75.1
24.7
25.5
23.3
9 .9
32.8
43.7
38.8

71.8
2 9.3
26.7
2 2.4
9 .8
3 2.6
43.4
3 8.6

77.8
30.0
26.7
22.1
9 .9
34.6
4 3.6
4 1.5

68.4
28.6
25.4
2 1.0
9 .6
28.9
4 2.5
3 9.0

A partial explanation of the differences between cities
in the rate of turnover of demand deposits is found in
differences in the type of deposits. In the Buffalo banks
time deposits are larger than demand deposits. In Syra­
cuse, on the other hand, time deposits are small and there
is a considerable volume of slow moving, interest bearing
accounts which are listed as demand deposits. Hence
the demand deposits of that city show a slower rate of
turnover. The relative amounts of time and demand
deposits in the banks for which velocity has been com­
puted are shown in the following table for November
7, 1923.
Dollar figures in thousands
N et Demand
Deposits
New York C ity— 36 banks........
Albany— 3 banks.........................
Buffalo— 12 banks.......................
Rochester— 3 ban ks................
Syracuse— 7 ban ks......................
Boston— 11 ban ks.......................
Chicago— 14 banks......................




Stock market time money also declined in October
and early November and was quoted at 5 to 5J4 per
cent., compared with 5y 2 to 5 ^ for a period late in
September. Except for a few days during the early part
of the month, call money averaged close to 4 % per cent.

Oct.

86.6
25.5
29.3
22.0
10.0
39.7
47.1
38.1

Short term Treasury securities continued in active de­
mand and scant supply. Offering rates on 4-6 months
maturities declined nearly y 2 of 1 per cent, below the
high point of October, and rates for longer maturities
also showed substantial declines.

$3,731,594
40,718
134,898
42,122
81,571
517,602
894,263

Time
Deposits
$407,606
9,932
138,256
19,822
14,128
75,690
184,229

Per cent of
Time Deposits
to Net Demand
Deposits
10.9
24.4
102.5
47.1
17.3
14.6
20.6

Security Markets
The declarations of extra dividends by a number of
industrial concerns and reports of increased activity in
several basic industries were among the factors in a
sharp recovery in the stock market in November. Stock
averages rose 4 or 5 points but remained from 10 to 15
points below the March high levels.
Liberty and high grade corporation bonds continued
their recoveries and reached again the price levels which
prevailed about September first. On November 20 an
average of 40 corporation bonds stood nearly § y 2 points
below the high level of September 1922, and more than a
point above this year’s lowest level. French and Belgian
issues were weaker in sympathy with exchange rates but
held substantially above the low points of earlier in the
year.
The volume of new security issues increased during
the latter part of October and in November, and offer­
ings were the heaviest since June. New financing by
railroads was particularly large, and other important
issues included $100,000,000 of a leading public utility,
$25,000,000 Dutch East Indies bonds, and several large
State and municipal issues. In general, the new offer­
ings appeared to be well taken by the market.

MONTHLY REVIEW, DECEMBER 1, 1923

4

(In millions)

Foreign Exchange
Under the influence of disturbed European politi­
cal conditions, seasonally increased exports from
the United States, and the accumulation of dollars
against debt payments, sterling exchange fell by
November 19 to $4.26, or 45 cents below the Febru­
ary high point. There was later a recovery to $4.38.
French francs broke below 5^4 cents to a new low
figure and new low points for the year were reached
by Italian, Dutch, Scandinavian, Spanish, Japanese,
Chinese, and Argentine exchanges, while declines pre­
vailed also among other rates. Brazilian exchange fell
to further new low points, and there was no halt in the
rapid depreciation of the mark.
The accompanying diagram compares the movements
of leading exchanges by months since 1919. The diagram
indicates the usual effect on the exchanges of heavy
foreign purchases of foodstuffs and cotton from this
country in the fall of each year.

Month

July............................................

Exports

Imports

335
307
341
325
316
320
302
311
382
402

329
303
398
364
373
320
287
275
254
303

Balance
+
6
+ 4
- 57
- 39
- 57

+'is

+ 36
+ 128
+ 99

In October as in September, cotton shipments were an
important factor in large exports. Exports of cotton
manufactures increased over September, but there were
decreases in shipments of meats and grains.
Factors in higher imports were increased receipts of
raw silk which had decreased in September following the
earthquake in Japan, and larger receipts of coffee, rub­
ber, and sugar.

Cotton Exports and Consumption

Depreciation of Foreign Exchange Rates from Par Value

Gold Movement
Net imports of gold into the United States during
October totaled $28,551,000, continuing the heavy flow
of previous months. In the first ten months of the year
net imports were $223,195,000 compared with $199,688,000 during the first ten months of 1922. October im­
ports were largely from Great Britain and Germany.
Exports were chiefly to British India and Mexico.

During the first three months of the current cotton
marketing year, exports of cotton have been larger than
last year by approximately 276,000 bales, or 19 per cent.,
due chiefly to the increase shown in the September
shipments. In the cotton year ended July 31 the exports
were, with the single exception of 1918, the smallest of
any year since 1896.
The relation between exports and domestic consump­
tion of cotton in past years is shown by the accompany­
ing diagram. Prior to the war, exports consistently ex­
ceeded domestic consumption by a substantial though
gradually decreasing margin. Exports, however, de­
clined sharply during the war and since the war have
averaged below the consumption figures. Factors in
lower exports in recent years have been decreased buy­
ing power abroad and high prices accompanying short
crops.
M
ILLIO S
N

Foreign Trade
Exports of merchandise from the United States showed
a further seasonal increase of $21,000,000 during Octo­
ber and were the largest since February 1921. Imports
likewise increased substantially and were the largest
since June of this year, exceeding those of October 1922
by $27,000,000. The following table shows imports and
exports for the different months since the first of the
year and indicates that whereas during the four months
from March to June imports exceeded exports the bal­
ance of trade has again become favorable to this country
by a substantial margin.




Exports and Domestic Consumption of Cotton by years ended
July 31 (Exports prior to 1915 by fiscal years)

6

FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT AT NEW YORK

Prices
The Department of Labor’s index of wholesale prices
declined from 154 to 153 during October, due to declines
in fuel, metals, and miscellaneous articles and small de­
creases in prices of cloths and clothing resulting from
lower prices for silk and worsted yarn. Other groups,
including farm products, were unchanged or higher.
The total index is now at practically the same point
as in October a year ago. As shown in the following
table the changes since that time have tended to bring
the various groups which comprise this index nearer to
a common level.
October
1922

October
1923

Farm products...................................................................................
F oods...................................................................................................
Cloths and clothing........................................................................
Fuel and lighting............................................................................
M etals.................................................................................................
Building materials............................................................................
Chem icals...........................................................................................
House-f urnishings.............................................................................
Miscellaneous.....................................................................................

138
140
188
226
135
183
124
176
120

144
148
199
172
142
182
129
183
120

T otal (w eighted)..........................................................................

154

153

recent years with the course of mail order sales. Mail
order sales appear to give evidence of an even more rapid
recovery in rural buying power than is indicated by the
ratio between prices of farm products and other prices.
Other factors besides prices which enter into buying
power include changes in costs of production on the
farm and changes in fixed charges and credit facilities.
The curve for mail order sales is based upon this bank’s
index, which allows for price changes, seasonal variation,
and usual year to year growth.

Employment and Wages
Employment in New York State factories increased 1
per cent, in the month ended October 15, due to larger
employment in the iron and steel and railway equipment
industries and to seasonal activity in the clothing and
food products industries.
The number of wage changes, as reported by the
National Industrial Conference Board for the United
States and summarized in the table below, was larger in
the month ended November 14 than in any month since
June.
Month Ended

This bank’s index of 20 basic commodities declined
during the first half of November, due partly to reaction
in silk from the high prices reached after the earthquake,
decline in hogs to the lowest since 1915, and further
loss in petroleum. Cotton rose to nearly 36 cents and
there were smaller advances in copper, lead and sugar.
There was practically no change during October in the
cost of living index computed by the National Industrial
Conference Board.

Farm Prices and Purchasing Power
The continued strength of prices of farm products,
together with price declines in many other commodities,
has resulted in a further narrowing of the spread
between agricultural and other prices, and the Depart­
ment of Agriculture’s index of the relative purchasing
power of farm products advanced in October to 75 per
cent, of the 1913 average, compared with 64 per cent,
in August, the low month last year. The following
diagram compares the movement in this index in
PERCENT.

Mail Order Sales in Percentages of Computed Normal, and Pur­
chasing Power of Farm Products as shown by the ratio
between Prices of Farm Products and of other
Commodities




Increases

Decreases

Total Changes

June 14, 1923...........................

287
137
77
22
28
151

1
0
0
1
2
5

288
137
77
23
30
156

August 14..................................
September 14............................
November 14............................

Voluntary advances of 1 to 3 cents an hour were made
by several railways to clerks, mechanical and electrical
employes, and stationary engineers and firemen. In­
creases occurred also in the street railway and printing
industries and on November 14, building trade unions in
New York City presented demands upon employers for
an increase of $1 a day in the basic wage. Several large
corporations announced plans for profit sharing and em­
ployment insurance.
Average weekly earnings of factory workers in New
York State increased 1 per cent, in October to $27.73,
and with the exception of June were the highest since
the end of 1920. During the past year average weekly
earnings have increased 8 per cent., due to increased
working time and higher wage scales.

Production
Production in basic industries increased during Octo­
ber, following declines in the preceding four months.
The Federal Reserve Board’s index covering 22 com­
modities advanced from 114 to 117 and most of the
indexes of this bank for separate industries showed in­
creases.
The output of steel ingots increased 7 per cent, from
3.313.000 tons in September to 3,548,000 tons in October,
and there was a small increase in pig iron production for
the month, though the daily rate of output was some­
what lower. Unfilled orders on the books of the United
States Steel Corporation showed a further decline of
363.000 tons to 4,673,000 tons, the smallest amount since
March 1922.

MONTHLY REVIEW, DECEMBER 1, 192,3

The production of passenger automobiles totaled 335,000 cars, an output which has been exceeded in the past
only by the unusual production of April, May and June
of this year. There was also an increase in the output
of motor trucks.
Notwithstanding the high prices of cotton, domestic
mills consumed 542,000 bales in October, or 12 per cent,
more than in September. During November, however,
some of the New England mills announced a 60 per cent,
curtailment in operations, and certain of the southern
mills made reductions in working schedules.
Bituminous coal production during October, while the
largest since January, increased somewhat less than
usual as compared with September, and the index of
production, in consequence, declined. Following curtail­
ment of operations in September due to the strike, an­
thracite mining was resumed in October at somewhat
less than the August rate.
The following table gives this bank’s available indexes
of production during October. The figures are expressed
as percentages of computed normal. Allowance is made
for seasonal variation and the usual year to year growth.
(Computed normal = 100 P er cent.)
1922
Oct.
Producers' Goods
Pig iron..................................
Steel i n g o t s ..........................
Bituminous coa l...................
Copper, U. S. m in e.............
Leather, sole.........................
Tin deliveries.......................
Petroleum ..............................
Cotton consum ption...........
W oolen mill a ctivity*........
W ood p u lp ............................
Zinc*......................................
Consumers* Goods
Anthracite c o a l ....................
Wheat flour .........................
Cattle slaughtered.............
Calves slaughtered..............
Sheep slaughtered...............
Hogs slaughtered.................
Sugar meltings, U. S. ports
Paper, t o t a l..........................
Tobacco consumption........
Gasoline.................................
Automobile, a ll....................
Automobile, passenger. . . .
Automobile, truck...............
Automobile, tires.................
Boots and shoes...................

184

10
0
91
84
94
103

112
95
106
92
75

1923
June July

93
139
74
109
108

114
109
98
93
92
139
96
113
123
75

105
106

107
105

99
99

105
84
142
83
104

106
99
146
89
98
103
73

91p
80
144

104
116
109
145
79
149
74
93

35
109
98
118
76
146

102 1 1 102
1

110
75

107

100
122

114

105
123

11
0

86
89
122 135
70
79
102 1 1 84
0
88
93
87
102 1 1 110
1

114
119
92
132
99

Sept. Oct.

2
122 1 1 110 102

95

112

Aug.

152
159
126
134
105

151
162
109
95

88

108
145
157
98

11
2
90

88
100

98

11
0

99
107p
*98
94
lOlp
73
95
104

102

137
85
89
107
140
159p
149p 17 lp
104p 113p
107p
90p 98p

(C puted norm
om
al=100 P cent.)
er
1923
Average for
Mar. Apr. M ay
Primary Distribution
Car loadings, mdse, and m isc..........................
Car loadings, oth er...........................................
Wholesale trade, Second D istrict...................
Exports................................................................
Im p o rt.................................................................
Cereal exports.....................................................
Distribution to Consumer
Department store sales, Second District........
Chain store sales................................................
Mail order sales...................................................
New life insurance written................................
Amusement receipts...........................................
Magazine advertising........................................
Newspaper advertising......................................
General Business Activity
Bank debits, outside N. Y . C ity .....................
Bank debits, New York C ity ..........................
Electric pow er.....................................................
Postal receipts.....................................................
Building permits..................................................
Business failures.................................................
Employment, N. Y . City factories.................

Sept.

Oct.

110
121
106
83
126
119

103
106
100
95p
94p
86

107
101
116
85 p
104p
58

98
100
102
103
101
93
96

97
96
91
112
84
96
90

100
97
100
113

110
106
110
103
149
103
104

97
93
109
97
127
88
101

102
92

98
92

ioi

152p
111
103

p Preliminary.

Building
The value of building permits granted in 158 princi­
pal cities increased 22 per cent, in October, accord­
ing to Bradstreet’s, although there is ordinarily little
change at this season of the year.
There was also a substantial increase in contracts actu­
ally awarded, as indicated by a gain of 26 per cent,
in the F. W . Dodge Company figures for the 27 north­
eastern States. The increase was due chiefly to increased
residential construction in New York and northern New
Jersey, and brought total contracts for the first ten
months of the year slightly ahead of those for the same
period of last year. The following diagram, comparing
the figures for the first ten months of the years from
1920 to 1923, indicates the importance of residential
construction in increased building activity, as business
and industrial building has declined since 1920 and other
groups have shown small changes. Because of the decline
in construction costs from the high point of 1920, the
increase in the actual volume of building has been larger
than is indicated by the dollar figures.
£<887

561'

* Seasonal variation not allowed for.
p Preliminary.

.f? 4 6 ..,
:4 5 0 v

2,536

A L O H R f .351;
L TE

Index of Business Activity
October indexes of business activity generally showed
increases compared with September, but in a majority of
cases were lower than the average figures in March,
April, and May. In the group covering distribution to
the consumer the October indexes were in every case
above September figures, and noteworthy increases
occurred in car loadings of merchandise and miscel­
laneous freight, wholesale trade, building activity, and
bank debits outside of New York. The following table
gives the indexes in percentages of computed normal,
with allowance made for seasonal changes, year to year
growth and, when necessary, for changes in prices.




BUSINESS td
IN D U S T R IA L

RESIDENTIAL

1922.
192.3
192.0
192.1
Value of Building Contracts awarded in 27 Northeastern States in
first 10 months of the years 1920 to 1923 (In millions of dollars)

7

FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT AT NEW YORK
The prices of building materials generally remained
unchanged in October, but building wages increased
slightly. As shown in the diagram below, building
wages are at the highest level of the year and 7 per cent,
above the maximum of 1920, but the price of materials
has declined 11 per cent, since April and about 40 per
cent, since 1920. The composite cost of building as com­
puted by this bank is 4 per cent, lower than in May
but nearly twice the 1913 cost.

.150

fid 1
J %P a
Q

r\ A jt .

A

50

v

0
150

A AX?

GROCt: r ie s

. i.

....V /-

SH10 ES

1
150

Changes in Wages of Building Workers, the Cost of Building
Material, and the Total Cost of Building
(1913 average = 100 Per cent.)

10
0

r
a

J

Profits in the Third Quarter of 1923
In the November 1 issue of this R e v ie w figures were
given showing the profits of 190 business corporations
during the first six months of 1923. Figures for the
third quarter of the year available for 36 industrial and
128 public utility concerns generally show a decline in
profits as compared with the first and second quarters,
apparently a reflection of reduced rate of operations and
in some cases higher operating costs.

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JEWELRY

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D IA M O N D S ^

(Net profits in thousands of dollars— 000 omitted)

i923
Number
of
Concerns
Iron and steel............................................
M otors and accessories...........................
O il................................................................
Miscellaneous industrials.......................

8
4
7
17

DRUGS

First
Quarter

Second
Quarter

Third
Quarter

23,500
9,600
12,900
12,200

41,800
12,000
9,900
12,900

38,100
8,300
11,500
5,900

Industrials, t o t a l..................................

36

58,200

76,600

72
56

36,100
23,500

35,500
21,100

30,200
19,700

Public utilities, total...........................

128

59,600

56,600

STATIONERY

63,800

Telephone...................................................
Other utilities............................................

49,900

Grand, total...........................................

164

117,800

133,200

Wholesale trade in this district was more active in
October than in September, and this bank’s weighted in­
dex of the sales of 164 dealers in 11 principal lines ad­
vanced 12 per cent, over September and was 11 per cent,
higher than in October last year. This increase occurred

ATF
il
V
7

A A

m

113,700

Wholesale Trade

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THING

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VW OMEN'S
CLOTH IN

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1919
1920
192.1
19£2
19 2 3
Monthly Sales of Representative Wholesale Dealers in the Second
Federal Reserve District
(Average sales in 1919 = 100 per cent.)

notwithstanding the fact that there is usually a decline
in October, and probably reflects delay by many retailers

8

M ONTHLY RE V IE W , DECEM BER 1, 1923

in making their purchases until later than usual in the
fall.
Sales of women’s coats and suits increased 25 per cent,
over September and 20 per cent, over October a year ago,
and sales of men’s clothing were nearly equal to those of
September, whereas last year September sales greatly
exceeded those of October. Other factors in larger trade
in October were increased sales of hardware, accompany­
ing continued active building operations, and gains in
sales of cotton goods, groceries, and drugs, due partly
to higher prices.
The diagrams on page seven compare fluctuations in
sales in the different commodity lines during the past
several years. Monthly average sales during 1919 have
been taken as 100 per cent., and no allowance has been
made for price changes or seasonal variation.
Detailed comparative figures of October sales are
shown in the following table with the different com­
modity lines grouped as shown by the diagrams.

Stocks held by department stores on November 1 were
8 per cent, larger than on October 1, due to receipt of
Christmas and winter merchandise.
Compared with
November 1 last year there was an increase of 13.5 per
cent., reflecting in part higher prices. Higher prices were
further indicated by an advance of 5 per cent, in the
average sales check from $3.20 last October to $3.36 this
year.
The following diagram compares the sales and stocks
of department stores in this district during the first ten
months of the current year with those of 1922.
MILLIONS
OF DOLLARS

Per cent.
Change,
September
to
October
1923

Dollar Sales During October
(October 1922 = 100 Per cent.)
Comm odity
1919

1920

1921

1922

1923

D ry goods............................
(a) Cotton goods...........
(6) Silk goods.................
Groceries..............................
Shoes....................................
Hardware............................
Machine tools.....................
Diam onds............................
Jewelry................................
Drugs...................................
Stationery...........................
C lothing..............................
(a) M en’s ........................
(6) W om en’s dresses...
(c) W om en’s coats and
suits.........................

129
109
148
120
259
110
168
167
183
98
111
88
98
80

70
74
66
109
89
110
146
82
141
95
132
95
116
87

85
92
77
89
109
85
29
77
76
89
76
83
110
57

100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

108
114
102
108
103
117
86
97
104
118
96
116
131
93

+
+
+
+
+
+
-f
+
+
+
+

84

75

73

100

120

+ 25.4

Total (weighted)...........

116

96

86

100

111

+ 11.6

6 .0
7 .0
18.9
23.9
8 .8
15.2
26.2
7 .6
22.5
18.7
22.6
10.3
0 .9
8 .9

Department Store Business
Department store sales in this district were 9.5 per
T
cent, above those of October a year ago compared with
increases of 4 per cent, in September and 11 per cent, in
August. Sales in Newark and in New York City were
relatively larger than in any other city in the district,
but in no city were the sales below those of last October.
With the exception of the cotton and silk goods de­
partments, sales in all sections of the stores were consid­
erably above those of last October; and sales of clothing,
both men’s and women’s, and of shoes, hosiery, woolen
goods, furniture, and house furnishings showed particu­
larly large increases. The following table shows the
changes in sales in eleven major groups of departments.
Per cent. Change
in Sales, October
1922 to October 1923
Woolen goods .........................................................
M en’s and boys' wear............................................
Shoes..........................................................................
H osiery......................................................................
House furnishings..................................................
W omen’s and misses’ ready to w e a r ..................
Furniture .................................................................
W omen’s and misses’ ready to wear accessories
Cotton good s...........................................................
Silk goods.................................................................
Miscellaneous...........................................................




+
+
+
+

18.6
15.0
13.2
13.2

+
+

9 .9
9 .7

+ 11.6

0 .5
+ 16.9

Sales and Stocks on Hand of Representative Department Stores
in the Second Federal Reserve District

Sales by mail order houses during October were 22 per
cent, above those of last October, and the largest in dollar
value of any month since December 1919. A diagram
comparing the mail order sales in percentages of com­
puted normal with the purchasing power of farm prod­
ucts is shown elsewhere in this issue of the R e v ie w .
Detailed figures of the stocks and sales of department
stores in this district are shown below.
Net Sales During October
(Oct. 1922 =100 Per cent.)
1919 1920
A ll dept, stores.. . .
New Y ork ............
Newark.................
Bridgeport...........
Elsewhere.............
Appaiel stores___
Mail order houses.

1921

1922

94
94
91
93
97
103
110
105
88
93

96
96
92
91
94
96
97
111
94
80

100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

89
93
77
83
82
98
101
91
83
143

Stock on Hand November 1
(N ov. 1, 1922 =100 Per cent.)

1923 1919
110
111
104
114
108
108
102
107
105
122

100
100
104
102
122
129
103
91
83

1920

1921

120
120
125
125
141
153
118
110
103

103
103
108
104
103
102
100
108
93

1922 1923
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

114
114
108
117
118
111
100
112
115

Chain Store Sales
October sales by all types of chain stores were larger
than in either September or in October a year ago. The
gain over October a year ago was due in part to the open­
ing of new stores but the average sales per store of ten
cent, cigar, candy, grocery, and apparel stores were
larger this year than last.