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MONTHLY

REVIEW

CRE DI T , B U S I N E S S AND A G R I C U L T U R A L CONDI T I ONS

F R E D E R I C A.

DELANO,

C hairman

and

F ed eral R e s e r v e A gent

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA____________________________________________________________ APRIL 30, 1936
U SIN E SS on the whole was ma­
March last year. Spot cotton prices
terially better in the Fifth Federal
fluctuated through a narrow range be­
Reserve district in March and early
tween the middle of March and the
middle of April, making practically
April than in the corresponding period
no net change. Cotton consumption
last year, and in some lines was above
and exports were considerably higher
seasonal levels in comparison with
in March 1936 than in March 1935 .
other recent months. In banking, re­
Very little tobacco was marketed in
discounts declined to none at the Fed­
March in the Fifth district, and all
eral Reserve Bank of Richmond early
markets closed for the season before
in April for the first time since the
or about April 1 . Manufacturing of
Bank began making loans, but by April
tobacco held up to recent high levels
15 rediscounts had increased to a
in March, and production of all forms
higher figure than that on March 15 .
of manufactured tobacco exceeded pro­
The past month witnessed a seasonal
duction in March last year. Tobacco
reduction in the volume of Federal
taxes paid to the Treasury were 9.5
Reserve notes in actual circulation, and
per cent greater last month than taxes
member bank reserve deposits also de­
clined. Reporting member banks in leading cities in­ paid in March 1935 . Retail trade as reflected in de­
creased outstanding loans, but their deposits declined partment store sales exceeded March 1935 trade by
slightly and there were also decreases in investments in 8.2 per cent, and sales in the first quarter of 1936 were
securities and in cash in vaults. Debits to individual 10.4 per cent larger than sales in the first quarter of
accounts figures in four weeks ended April 8, 1936 , 1935 . Wholesale trade in March 1936 exceeded the
show a normal increase of 9.8 per cent over debits in volume of business done in March 1935 in all of five
the preceding four weeks, ended March 11 , due chiefly leading lines for which data are available. All of the
to quarterly payments of dividends and interest on five lines showed larger seasonal gains over February
April 1 and income tax payments on March 15 . Debits business than they showed in the comparison between
in the more recent period also exceeded debits in the March and February last year, and collections in the
corresponding period last year by 10.8 per cent. The five lines were better last month than in the correspond­
Fifth district made a better record in business failures ing month last year. Construction has increased mark­
in March than the total for the United States, Fifth edly in the Fifth district in recent months, and build­
district insolvencies being 5.7 per cent fewer in num­ ing permits issued in leading cities in March were
ber and 51.1 per cent lower in liabilities than March nearly double the March 1935 permits in estimated
Contracts actually awarded last month
1935 insolvencies, while the Nation showed a small in­ valuation.
crease in the number of failures and 5.9 per cent rise showed an increase of 53.2 per cent over contracts
|
in aggregate liabilities. Employment conditions appear j awarded in March last year. Agriculture is getting a
|
to have improved more in the past six weeks than in j very late start this year, wet and cold weather having
any similar period since the depression began, and in delayed plowing and planting. Some fruits have been
some localities actual shortage of labor for farm work damaged by late freezes, but the apple crop does not
and roed construction is threatened. Coal production appear to have suffered materially. The early Irish
in March declined sharply from February output, at potato crop in the district will be cut by late planting
least part of the drop being seasonal. Textile mills in and rotting of potatoes in the ground, and acreage
the Fifth district continued operations on full time, planted in spring grains will be reduced from intended
and materially exceeded the scale of operations of acreage figures.




2

MONTHLY REVIEW

Reserve Bank Statement
ITEMS

000 omitted
Apr. 15 Mar. 15 Apr. 15
1936
1936
1935

35
171 $
Rediscounts held ...................... $
Open market paper..................
190
190
4,186
4,197
Industrial advances ..................
8
15
Foreign loans on gold...............
Government securities ............. 116,716 116,716
Total earning assets............... 121,271
121,153
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes.... 174,638
176,767
Members* reserve deposits........ 177,505 196,605
Cash reserves ........................... 276,199 274,351
Reserve ratio ..........................
71.08
70.78

$

295
196
3,613
4
113,563
117,671
154,212
128,445
192,646
63.93

Between the middle of March and the middle of
April 1936 , rediscounts for member banks increased
at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond by $ 136 ,000 ,
but from April 1 to April 6, inclusive, the Bank’s port­
folio held no discounts for members, the first time
since the early days of the Bank’s history that not a
single member bank was borrowing at the Reserve
bank. Industrial advances made by the Bank under
authority of Section 1 3 (b) of the Federal Reserve Act,
as amended, declined by $ 11,000 between March 15
and April 15 , and foreign loans on gold decreased by
$ 7 ,000 . No changes occurred in holdings of open mar­
ket paper or Government securities in the month. Total
earning assets registered a net increase of $ 118,000
between the middle of March and the middle of April.
Federal reserve notes in actual circulation decreased
seasonally by $ 2 ,129,000 in the month under review,
and member bank reserve deposits dropped by $ 19,199 ,000 . The several changes mentioned, with others
of less importance, increased the cash reserves of the
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond by $ 1,848,000 be­
tween March 15 and April 15 , but the ratio of cash
reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined de­
clined by 3 /1 0 of 1 point.
Condition figures for April 15 , 1936 , were nearly all
larger than those for April 15 , 1935 . Rediscounts for
member banks held by the Federal Reserve Bank of
Richmond on the 1936 date were $ 124,000 less than
rediscounts a year earlier, and holdings of open market
paper dropped by $6,000 during the year, but all other
items in the table increased. Foreign loans on gold
rose by $ 4,000 between April 15 last year and this, and
the Bank’s holdings of Government obligations rose
by $ 3 , 153 ,000 . These changes in assets resulted in a
net increase of $ 3 ,600,000 in total earning assets during
the year under review. Federal reserve notes in actual
circulation on April 15 this year exceeded those in
circulation on April 15 , 1935 , by $ 20 ,4 2 6 ,0 00 , and mem­
ber banks reserve deposits rose by $ 4 9 ,060,000 during
the same period. Cash reserves of the Federal Reserve
Bank of Richmond rose by $ 8 3 ,553,000 between the
middle of April last year and this, and the ratio of cash
reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined gained
6.85 points.
Statement of 41 Member Banks

The accompanying table shows the principal items of
condition of forty-one regularly reporting member
banks in the Fifth Federal Reserve district as of three
dates, April 15 and March 11 , 1936 , and April 17 , 1935 ,




ITEMS
Loans on stocks and bonds (in­
cluding Governments) ..........
All other loans.... ............. .......
Total loans and discounts
Investments in securities...........
Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank....
Cash in vaults...........................
Demand deposits .....................
Time deposits ...........................
Money borrowed ......................

Apr. 15
1936

000 omitted
Mar. 11 Apr. 17
1936
1935

$ 69,816 $ 71,720 $ 71,964
126,133 130,269 131,277
205,949 201,989 203,241
369,241 371,657 382,671
81,327
115,386 137,702
16,044
15,382!
17,196
408,141 410,908 359,308
193,159 192,494 195,310
0
0
0

thus affording opportunity for comparison of the latest
available figures with those a month and a year earlier.
During the month between March 11 and April 15 ,
total loans and discounts at the forty-one banks rose
by $ 3 ,960 ,000 , an increase of $ 5 ,864,000 in “all other
loans” more than offsetting a decline of $ 1,904,000 in
loans on stocks and bonds. Investments in securities
declined during the month by $ 2 ,416 ,0 0 0 , and there was
also a decrease of $ 2 2 ,316,000 in aggregate reserve bal­
ance of the reporting banks at the Reserve bank. Cash
in vaults dropped by $ 1 , 152,00 between March 11 and
April 15 . Aggregate deposits declined during the
month, a decrease in demand deposits amounting to
$ 2 ,767,000 exceeding an increase of $ 665,000 in time
deposits.
Comparison of condition figures for April 15 , 1936 ,
with corresponding figures for April 17 , 1935 , shows
several material changes. The most outstanding gain
was in demand deposits, which rose $ 48 ,833,000 be­
tween the middle of April last year and this. Most of
the increased deposits went to swell reserve balances at
the Federal Reserve bank, which rose by $ 34 ,059,000
during the year. Total loans and discounts were also
slightly higher on the 1936 date, an increase of $ 4 ,856 ,000 in “ all other loans” exceeding by $ 2 ,708,000 a de­
crease of $ 2 ,148,000 in loans on securities. There was
a small increase of $ 662,000 in cash in vaults during
the year. Investments in securities in the forty-one
reporting banks were less on April 15 this year than
on the corresponding date a year earlier, this item
showing a decline of $ 13 ,430,000 between April 17 ,
1935 , and April 15 , 1936 . Time deposits also showed
a small decline of $ 2 ,151,000 during the year under
review. None of the reporting banks had any redis­
counts or bills payable during the past year.
Time and Savings Deposits

Time deposits in forty-one reporting member banks
in the Fifth district and aggregate deposits in eleven
mutual savings banks in Baltimore totaled $ 399 ,697,903
at the end of March 1936 , a higher figure than either
$ 398 , 170,933 reported at the end of February this year
or $ 394 ,451,072 at the end of March last year. Both
the reporting member banks and the savings banks
gained in deposits during the past month, and the
mutual savings banks increased during the past year,
but the reporting member banks showed a small decline
between the end of March last year and this.

MONTHLY REVIEW
Debits to Individual Accounts
CITIES

Asheville, N. C.........
Baltimore, Md ..........
Charleston, S. C.......
Charleston, W. Va....
Charlotte, N. C.........
Columbia, S. C...........
Cumberland, Md'. ......
Danville, Va..............
Durham, N. C... .......
Greensboro, N. C... .
Greenville, S. C.......
Hagerstown, Md.
Huntington, W. Va....
Lynchburg, Va. ___
Newport News, Va...
Norfolk, Va..............
Portsmouth, Va.........
Raleigh, N. C....... .....
Richmond, Va............
Roanoke, Va..............
Spartanburg, S. C. ...
Washington, D. C.
Wilmington, N. C.
Winston-Salem, N. C.

000 omitted
Total debits, four weeks ended
March 11, 1 April 10,
April 8,
1936
1935
1936
$

10,687
295,086
14,45543,470
48,612
23,929
6,894
6,784
20,036
13,548
14,947
6,699
12,379
12,934
7,868
42*215
3,264
36,117
120,533
22,697
6,722*
224,299
9,135
35,290

$

8,643
286,053
12,483’
35,520
44,920
23,917
6,816
6,273
19,592
12,430
14,901
6,143
13,262
12,454
6,762
36,697
3,125
23,160
109,500
21,533
6,909*
200,637
7,393
27,674

$

9,202
268,520
11,506
41,869
51,523
19,053
6,244
5,155
18,963
12,891
13,073
6,546
11,874
12,357
6,420
44,022
3,762
22,314
109,215
17,994
198,552
9,685
30,966

District Totals ......
$1,031,878
$ 931,706
$ 939,888
*Spartanburg, S. G, figures not included in totals.

Debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts in
the banks of twenty-three leading cities of the Fifth
Federal Reserve district in four weeks ended April 8,
1936 , totaling $ 1 ,03 1 ,878,000 showed an increase of
$ 91 ,990 ,000 , or 9.8 per cent, over debits amounting to
$ 939 ,888,000 in four preceding weeks ended March 11 .
The increase was seasonal, reflecting a large volume of
income tax payments on or about March 15 and quar­
terly payments on April 1 . All of the reporting cities
except Huntington reported higher figures for the more
recent period.
In comparison with debits in four weeks ended April
10 , 1935 , those for four weeks ended April 8, 1936 ,
show an increase of $ 100 , 172 ,0 0 0 , or 10.8 per cent.
Nineteen of the twenty-three reporting cities showed
higher figures for the 1936 period under review, the
four cities failing to gain being Charlotte, Norfolk,
Portsmouth and Wilmington. Debits to individual ac­
counts figures reflect the volume of business transac­
tions passing through the banks of the reporting cities.

3

volved in March 1935 insolvencies. Five of the twelve
Reserve districts reported fewer failures in March this
year, and one district reported no change, while six
districts reported lower liabilities last month. The
Boston, Philadelphia and Richmond districts showed
lower figures for both number of bankruptcies and
aggregate liabilities involved in March 1936 than in
March 1935 . In the first quarter of 1936 , the Fifth
district had 137 failures for $ 3 ,230 ,0 0 0 , compared with
157 failures for $ 2 ,339,180 in the first quarter of 1935 ,
while in the United States there were 2,879 failures for
$ 48 ,464,000 in the first quarter of this year in compari­
son with 3,080 failures for $ 4 0 ,401,697 in the first
quarter last year.
Employment

Employment conditions in the Fifth district im­
proved between the first of March and the middle of
April, especially in the demand for building trades­
men and labor for road construction. There is actually
a shortage of labor in many rural sections, and farmers
are finding it difficult to secure sufficient help to plant
their crops. Relief rolls have been drawn upon so
heavily that in many lines of work calls for employees
cannot be filled with suitable men. There is greater
activity in residential construction than at any other
time for several years, and a considerable volume of
industrial building is also being done. The severity
of winter weather damaged roads and bridges more
than usual, and made necessary the employment of
hundreds of additional men in order to get repairs made
before the heavy summer travel begins.
Coal Production

As is customary at this time of the year, bituminous
coal production in the United States declined in March
from February production, and this year fell materially
behind the comparatively large March 1935 production
figures. Bituminous coal mined in March 1936 totaled
only 3 0 ,692,000 net tons, a decrease of 25.8 per cent
under 41 ,375,000 tons mined in February this year and
20.7 per cent less than 38 ,701,000 tons dug in March
last year. Production during the first quarter of 1936
totaled 111 ,397,000 tons, an increase of 1 per cent over
110 ,287,000 tons mined in the first quarter of 1935 .
Bituminous coal shipments through Hampton Roads
ports to April 11 , 1936 , totaled 5 ,956,616 net tons, com­
pared with 5 ,882,296 tons shipped through the same
ports prior to April 11 , 1935 .
Commercial Failures
In its report for March 2 8 , the Bureau of Mines,
The business failure record in March was better in Department of the Interior, gave production figures
the Fifth district than in the United States as a whole. of coal by states for February. West Virginia led all
There were 50 insolvencies in the district last month, states with 10 ,410,000 net tons, and Pennsylvania
compared with 53 in March 1935 , a decrease of 5.7 ranked second with 9 ,046,000 tons. The three Fifth
per cent, while there were 946 insolvencies in the district states of Maryland, Virginia and West Vir­
United States last month compared with 940 in March ginia produced 11 ,676,000 tons in February this year,
1935 , an increase of 6 /1 0 of 1 >per cent. In liabilities
or 28.2 per cent of National production.
involved in March 1936 failures, a total of $ 504,000
for the Fifth district showed a decrease of 51.1 per Textiles
cent in comparison with $ 1,031,000 involved in March
Textile mills ran full time in the Fifth district m
1935 bankruptcies, while liabilities in the Nation total­
ing $ 16 ,271,000 in March 1936 showed a rise of 5.9 March 1936 , and cotton consumption in the district
per cent over aggregate liabilities of $ 15 ,361,000 in­ totaled 266,890 bales, compared with 246,903 bales used




4

MONTHLY REVIEW

in February this year and 220,948 bales in March last
year. In March 1935 manufactured goods began to
accumulate in mill warehouses and in the latter part of
the month a considerable number of mills restricted
output and cotton consumption by closing a few days.
Of the 266,890 bales of cotton used in March 1936 ,
North Carolina mills used 143,698 bales, South Caro­
lina mills used 109,152 bales, and Virginia mills used
14,040 bales, all higher figures than corresponding
figures for March 1935 . Consumption of cotton in the
Richmond reserve district in March this year totaled
48.6 per cent of National consumption, compared with
47.8 per cent of National consumption for the district
in February 1936 and 45.8 per cent in March 1935 .
On March 2 1 , the Department of Commerce issued
a report on activity in the cotton spinning industry for
February 1936 . On February 2 9 , 1936 , there were
2 8 ,864,406 spindles in place in the United States, North
Carolina leading with 6 ,09 3 ,824 , or 21.1 per cent of
the total, South Carolina ranking second with 5 ,757,590
spindles, or 19.9 per cent, and Massachusetts third with
4 ,584,540 spindles, or 15.9 per cent. The Fifth dis­
trict as a whole had 43.3 per cent of total spindles
in place in the United States at the end of February
1936 . In actual spindle hours of operation, South
Carolina led all states for February with 1 ,718 ,583 ,452 ,
or 25.5 per cent of the National total of 6 ,736 ,374,454
hours, and North Carolina ranked second with 1 ,566 ,848,595 hours, or 23.3 per cent, while Georgia had
92 5 ,304,636 hours, or 13.7 per cent, to take third place.
The Fifth district, with 43.3 per cent of total spindles
in the United States in place in February, showed 51.2
per cent of total hours of operation. In actual hours of
operation per spindle in place, South Carolina with an
average of 298 hours per spindle ranked first, North
Carolina with 257 hours ranked fifth, and Virginia with
248 hours ranked sixth, all being well above the Na­
tional average of 233 hours per spindle.
Cotton Statistics

Spot cotton prices changed very little between the
middle of March and the middle of April, the differ­
ence between the highest and lowest quotations during
the month being only about a third of a cent per pound.
On March 13 , the average price paid on ten Southern
spot markets for middling grade upland cotton was
11.29 cents per pound. From this level the average
price advanced to 11.40 cents per pound on March 20
and to 11.64 cents on March 2 7 . There was a slight
decline to 11.57 cents on April 3 , followed by advances
to 11.61 cents on April 11 and 11.62 cents on April 17 ,
the latest date for which official figures are available.
On April 19 last year the average price on the same
markets was 11.96 cents per pound.
Cotton consumption in the United States in March
1936 totaled 548,913 bales, compared with 516,649 bales
used in February this year and 482,373 bales in March
1935 . Total consumption for the eight months of the
present cotton year—August 1 to March 31 —amounted
to 4 ,072,759 bales compared with 3 ,647,359 bales con­
sumed in the corresponding period ended March 31 ,
1935 . Manufacturing establishments held 1 ,334,394




bales on March 31 , compared with 1 ,404,476 bales held
on February 29 this year and 1, 116,018 bales on March
31 , 1935 . Public warehouses and compresses held
6 ,570,182 bales in storage at the end of March this
year, compared with 7 ,247,803 bales so held a month
earlier and 7 ,788,346 bales on March 31 last year.
March exports totaled 404,741 bales, compared with
406,022 bales sent abroad in February this year and
317,798 bales exported in March last year. Exports
during the eight months of this cotton year totaled
4 ,814,360 bales, compared with 3 ,572,630 bales shipped
over seas during the corresponding eight months ended
March 31 , 1935 . Spindles active in March numbered
23 , 175 ,502 , compared with 2 3 ,337,070 in February this
year and 2 4 ,573,602 in March 1935 .
Cotton growing states consumed 464,934 bales in
March 1936 , compared with 431,591 bales used in
February and 389,218 bales in March 1935 . Last
month’s consumption in the cotton growing states
amounted to 84.7 per cent of National consumption,
compared with 80.7 per cent of National consumption
used in the cotton growing states in March last year.
Of the 464,934 bales of cotton used in the cotton grow­
ing states in March, the Fifth district mills consumed
266,890 bales, or 57.4 per cent, compared with 56.8 per
cent of Southern consumption attained in the district
in March last year.
Final ginning figures on the 1935 cotton crop were
issued on March 20 , too late for inclusion in the March
31 issue of the Review. Total ginnings for the United
States amounted to 10 ,417,237 running bales, the
equivalent of 10 ,635,156 standard 500 pound bales.
This figure shows an increase over 9 ,636,559 standard
500 pound bales ginned from the 1934 crop, but is
below 13 ,047,262 bales ginned from the 1933 crop. In
the Fifth reserve district, South Carolina ginnings
totaled 743,766 bales from the 1935 crop, compared
with 681,791 bales from the 1934 crop and 735,089
bales from the 1933 crop. North Carolina ginned
573,361 bales during the past season, compared with
631,420 bales in 1934 and 686,990 bales in 1933 . Vir­
ginia ginned only 27,199 bales for 1935 , compared with
32,961 bales in 1934 and 34,397 bales in 1933 . The
entire Fifth district ginned 1,344,326 bales from the
1935 crop, 1 ,346,172 bales from the 1934 crop, and
1 ,456 ,4 7 6 . bales from the 1933 crop. All of the gin­
ning figures for Fifth district states were slightly below
the estimated production figures released in December.
It should perhaps be pointed out that a considerable
number of bales of cotton grown in Virginia are ginned
in North Carolina.
Tobacco Marketing

Virginia tobacco markets have closed for the season,
and the Agricultural Statistician has issued the follow­
ing summary on the sales. “ Producers’ sales of all
types of leaf tobacco during the past season amounted
to 132 ,702,909 pounds for $ 2 4 ,302 ,555 , or an average
of $ 18.31 per hundred pounds, according to warehouse
reports to the Commissioner of Agriculture. Sales for
the 1934-1935 season amounted to 102 ,629,133 pounds
for $ 2 4 ,837 ,836 , or an average of $ 24.20 per hundred

MONTHLY REVIEW

pounds. Flue-cured sales for the season amounted to
103 ,549,522 pounds, at an average price of $ 19.98 per
hundred pounds, compared with the previous season’s
sales of 75 ,789,401 pounds, at an average of $ 28 .12 .
Sales of this type were the highest since the season of
1927 - 1928 . Approximately 30 ,000,000 pounds of to­
bacco from North Carolina in excess of the Virginia
tobacco sold in that State is included in the Virginia
sales. The sales of fire-cured tobacco amounted to
20 , 125,938 pounds, at an average price of $ 10.30 per
hundred pounds. The sales for the previous season
were 17 ,689,637 pounds, at an average price of $ 12 . 17 .
Burley sales amounted to 6 ,204,122 pounds, at an aver­
age price of $ 19.86 per hundred. Sales were the small­
est since the 1932-1933 season, but the average price
was the highest since the 1929-1930 season. Sun-cured
sales amounted to 2 ,823,327 pounds, and the average
price was $11.00 per hundred, compared with the pre­
vious season’s sales of 2 ,693,311 pounds at an average
price of $ 9.72 per hundred. The sales were the largest
since the 1931-1932 season, and the average price was
the highest since the 1929-1930 season. The total num­
ber of warehouses operating during the season was 56 ,
compared with 60 during the previous season.” Among
individual Virginia markets, Danville led in sales with
53 ,052,947 pounds, South Boston ranking second with
sales totaling 22 ,963,493 pounds. Both of these mar­
kets sold flue-cured tobacco exclusively. Lynchburg
led fire-cured tobacco markets with sales aggregating
6 ,591,546 pounds, Farmville ranking second with 6,182,109 pounds. All burley tobacco was sold at Abing­
don, and all sun-cured tobacco at Richmond. Lawrenceville with an average of $22.68 per hundred pounds
paid the highest average price for flue-cured tobacco in
the 1935-1936 season, while Blackstone with $ 11.99 led
the fire-cured markets.
North Carolina and South Carolina tobacco sales for
the 1935-1936 season were reported in the March 31 ,
1936 , and the November 30 , 1935 , issues of the Month­
ly Review, respectively.
Tobacco Manufacturing

The Internal Revenue Bureau of the Treasury De­
partment issued a report on April 21 on tobacco manu­
facturing in March. Cigarettes produced totaled 11 ,193 ,046 ,810 , compared with 10 , 199 ,611,800 cigarettes
made in March 1935 , and taxes paid to the Treasury on
the cigarettes amounted to $ 33 ,580,630 in March 1936
and $ 30 ,600,593 in March 1935 . Cigars made last
month totaled 377 , 167 ,0 5 2 , compared with 351 ,694,102
cigars made in the corresponding month last year, and
taxes paid on the cigars totaled $ 937,856 and $ 877,722
in March 1936 and 1935 , respectively. Manufactured
tobacco made in March this year, including smoking
and chewing tobacco, amounted to 26 ,996,069 pounds,
compared with 24 ,787,829 pounds in March last year,
and taxes on the product totaled $ 4 ,859,325 this year
and $ 4 ,461,992 last year. Snuff production totaled
3 ,319,160 pounds and taxes thereon amounted to $ 597 ,449 in March 1936 , compared with 3 , 182,654 pounds
and taxes totaling $ 572,878 in March 1935 . The taxes
enumerated totaled $ 39 ,975,260 in March this year, an




5

increase of 9.5 per cent over similar taxes totaling
$ 36 ,513,185 in March 1935 .
Agricultural Notes

All farm work has been very much delayed this year
on account of excessive rains and floods, and in the
upper half of the Fifth district by unusually low tem­
peratures. On April 1 very little plowing had been
done in Virginia and Maryland, and much less than
usual in the Carolinas. Low ground suffered severely
from over-flowing streams in March and April, and
freezes in April damaged peaches materially in the up­
per half of the district. Apple prospects have not
been materially affected. Early potatoes on April 1
had not come up in Virginia, and in the Carolinas many
potatoes were rotting in the ground before sprouting.
The winter and spring weather was so severe that fall
sown grains are not in as good condition as in most
years, but grain crops can recover quickly and final
production figures depend largely on May weather. The
delay in farm work has increased the need for agricul­
tural laborers in an effort to put in contemplated acre­
ages, and farmers are finding labor quite scarce in some
localities.
Construction
Building Permits Issued in March
1936 and 1935
CITIES

Permits Issued
1935
1936

801
Baltimore, Md............
8
Cumberland, Md........
11
Frederick, Md............
11
Hagerstown, Md........
17
Salisbury, Md’............
35
Danville, Va......... .....
40
Lynchburg, Va...........
129
Norfolk, Va...............
1
Petersburg, Va...........
51
Portsmouth, Va.........
111
Richmond, Va............
59
Roanoke, Va............
8
Bluefield, W. Va.......
115
Charleston, W. Va...
49
Clarksburg, W. Va....
23
Huntington, W. Va...
35
Asheville, N. C..........
Charlotte, N. C......... 107
32
Durham, N. C..........
59
Greensboro, N. C.......
49
High Point, N. C.....
18
Raleigh, N. C............
12
Rocky Mount, N. C—
9
Salisbury, N. C.........
Winston-Salem, N. C. 119
50
Charleston, S. C.........
54
Columbia, S. C..........
80
Greenville, S. C.........
34
Rock Hill, S. C.
25
Spartanburg, S. C.....
575
Washington, D. C.....
District Totals ...... 2,727

704
7
13
22
19
30
41
116
2
15
116
43
7
86
21
23
29
81
30
25
35
24
9
10
58
55
33
50
16'
3
413
2,136

Total Valuation
1936
1935
$1,394,040 $ 585,120
8,350
14,620
65,216
7,712
7,145
9,840
155,530
16,000
107,740
37,975
58,102
43,035
98,199
52,170
4,000
720
17,280
10,070
333,776
164,010
73,902
145,885
6,800
1,770
219,070
41,220
29,811
5,755
273,755
11,550
29,940
31,605
162,707
99,009
171,318
49,423
118,057
22,366
25,248
33,120
14,300
18,050
10,540
8,085
16,460
31,975
135,501
65,788
522,802,
29,209
93,038
58,470
171,807
117,040
51,700
30,300
6,000
23,982
2,187,085
1,668,373
$6,587,201 $3,416,265

Building permits issued in thirty-one Fifth district
cities in March 1936 showed improvement over the fig­
ures reported for March last year in both number and
total valuation. Last month, 2,727 permits were issued

6

MONTHLY REVIEW

for all classes of work, compared with 2,136 permits
issued in March 1935 , an increase of 27.7 per cent.
Total valuation figures for March 1936 amounted to
$ 6 ,587 ,201 , an increase of 92.8 per cent over the total
of $ 3 ,416,265 for permits issued in March last year.
Twenty-one cities reported more permits and twentyfour reported higher valuation figures last month than
for the same month last year. All of the five largest
cities, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Norfolk and
Charlotte, reported higher valuation figures for March
this year than last. Reports indicate that a consider­
ably higher percentage of work provided for this year
is new construction than was the case a year ago, when

most work other than public structures was confined to
repair or alteration jobs.

Retail Trade, 30 Department Stores

Wholesale Trade, 56 Firms

Richmond Baltimore Washington Other Cities District
March 1936 sales, compared with sales in March 1935:
+ 9.6
+ 4.6
+11.8
+ 3.7
+ 8.2
Jan.-March 1936 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-March 1935
+ 9.7
+ 6.8
+13.9
+ 8.7
+10.4
Mar. 31, 1936, stocks, compared with stocks on Mar. 31, 1935
+10.6
+ 2.8
+ 8.2
+ 3.4
+ 5.2
March 31, 1936, stocks, compared with stocks on Feb. 29, 1936
+10.2
+ 7.9
+ 7.3
+ 5.9
+ 7.7
Number of times stock was turned in March 1936:
.355
.329
.366
.324
.347
Number of times stock was turned since January 1, 1936:
.892
.85
.994
.84
.914
Percentage of March 1, 1936, receivables collected in March:
32.8
29.9
27.1
28.8
28.7

Contracts actually awarded for construction work in
the Fifth reserve district in March this year totaled
$ 17 ,136 , 158 , including both rural and urban projects,
compared with $ 11 ,185,368 in contracts awarded in
March 1935 , according to figures collected by the F.
W. Dodge Corporation. Of the March 1936 contracts,
$ 6 ,109 ,238 , or 36 per cent, was for residential types
of construction, exactly the same percentage of total
contracts represented by residential work in March
1935 .

21
Groceries

6
Shotis

11
Hardware

11
Drugs

March 1936 sales, compared with sales in March 1935:
+ 8.8
+21.3
+ 2.0
+16.9
+13.2
March 1936 sales, compared with sales in February 1936:
+ 7.6
+25.5
+30.4
+31.2
+ 4.7
Jan.-Mar. 1936 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-Mar. 1935:
+ 4.9
+ 6.9
+ 1.3
+ 1.7
+ 4.6
Mar. 31, 1936, stocks, compared with stocks on Mar. 31, 1935:
_ .1 (8*) —1219(3*) +22.8(4*) + 1.9(6*)
Mar. 31, 1936, stocks, compared with stocks on Feb. 29, 1936:
+■4.8(8*) + .7(3*) —-12.9(4*) —i .6(6*)
Percentage of March collections to receivables on March 1:
10313(12*)
4215(4*)
40.7(5*)
50.5(10*)
70.0(7*)

Note: Sales and stock changes are percentages.




7
Dry Goods

(Compiled April

*Number of reporting firms.
are percentages.

21 , 1936 )

All other figures in the table

MONTHLY REVIEW

7

BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES
(Compiled by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)

Production and employment at factories increased
from February to March, while output of minerals
declined. There was considerable expansion in retail
trade.
Production and Employment

The Board’s combined index of industrial production,
which includes both manufacturing and mining and
makes allowance for seasonal changes, remained un­
changed in March at the February figure of 94 per­
cent of the 1923-1925 average. Production of auto­
mobiles rose sharply in March to a total of 425,000
passenger cars and trucks and continued to increase
during April. There was a seasonal increase in output
of steel in March, followed in the first three weeks of
April by a rapid rise in activity. Estimates of the
rate of production in that period averaged around 67
percent of capacity as compared with the rate of 59
percent reported for March. Production of cement
and lumber increased more than seasonally from Feb­
ruary to March, and activity at meatpacking estab­
lishments and at silk mills also increased, although a
decline is usual in these industries at this time of the
year. There was little change in output at cotton tex­
tile mills, while at woolen mills activity decreased by
more than the usual amount. Production of anthracite
and bituminous coal showed a substantial reduction
from the relatively high level of February and this
decrease accounted for the decline in total output at
mines.
Factory employment increased by more than the usual
seasonal amount from the middle of February to the
middle of March, and payrolls showed a larger in­
crease. Employment increased in the machinery in­
dustries, at sawmills, and at establishments producing
wearing apparel. There was a decrease in the number
of workers at plants producing rubber tires and tubes,
where a strike was in progress in the middle of March.
At automobile factories the number employed declined
slightly, while payrolls showed a considerable increase.
The value of construction contracts awarded, accord­
ing to figures of the F. W. Dodge Corporation, showed
a seasonal increase from February to March. Awards
for residential building increased seasonally and con­
tracts for other private construction advanced to the
highest point since 1931 . Value of awards for publiclyowned projects continued considerably smaller than in
December and January, when the dollar volume of such
contracts was relatively high.




Distribution

Retail trade, which had been reduced in January and
February by unusually severe weather, increased con­
siderably in March. Sales at department and variety
stores and by mail order houses serving rural areas
showed a more than seasonal increase. The number of
new automobiles sold was also larger than in Feb­
ruary.
Freight-car loadings of most classes of commodities
increased from February to March by more than the
usual seasonal amount. Total loadings declined some­
what from the relatively high level of the three preced­
ing months, however, reflecting a sharp reduction in
shipments of coal.
Commodity Prices

The general level of wholesale commodity prices,
which had declined somewhat between the third week
of February and the middle of March, showed rela­
tively little change in the following four weeks. Re­
tail prices of foods declined during March.
Bank Credit

Excess reserves of member banks, after declining
sharply in the last half of March, increased by about
$ 300 ,000,000 in the first three weeks of April to a
total of $ 2 ,640 ,000 ,00 0 . This increase, like the preced­
ing decline, was due chiefly to operations of the Treas­
ury. After the middle of March Treasury balances at
the Federal Reserve banks were built up through the
collection of taxes and receipts from the sale of new
securities, and in April these balances were drawn upon
to meet expenditures.
Partly as a result of these expenditures, deposits at
reporting member banks in leading cities, which had
declined in March, increased in the first half of April,
when total loans and investments of these banks also
increased. From February 26 to April 15 total loans
and investments of reporting member banks showed an
increase of about $ 800 ,00 0 ,000 , reflecting increases of
$ 380 ,000,000 in investments, of $ 180 ,000,000 in loans
to brokers and dealers in securities, and of $ 240 ,000,000
in so-called “ other” loans, which include loans for com­
mercial, industrial, and agricultural purposes.

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