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MONTHLY

REVIEW

C REDI 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

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

APRIL 30, 1937
March 1937

Debits to individual accounts (24 cities)....................... ............. .......................
Number of business failures, 5th district....................................
Liabilities involved in failures, 5th district........... ...................... .......................
Cotton consumption, 5th district (Bales).....................................
Building permits issued (31 cities)........................................ .....
Value of building permits (31 cities)......................................... .......................
Value of contracts awarded, 5th district........................................ .......................
Total sales, 54 department stores, 5th district............................... .......................
Total sales, 56 wholesale firms in 5 lines...................................... .......................
Registrations, new passenger automobiles...................................
Bituminous coal production, U. S. (Tons)...................................

RAD E in the Fifth Federal Re­
serve district in March and early
April not only showed the normal sea­
sonal rise over February, but con­
tinued in materially larger volume than
in the corresponding period last year.
The early date of Easter this year
raised retail trade in department stores
to about 18 per cent above the March
1936 figure, and carried sales in the
first quarter of this year 12 per cent
above sales in the first quarter of last
year. Wholesale trade last month in
four of five lines for which data
are available also was in considerably
larger volume than in March 1936.
Registrations of new passenger auto­
mobiles in the Fifth district in the first three months
of 1937 exceeded registrations of new cars in the cor­
responding period in 1936 by 31 per cent, an indication
of increased consumer buying power this year. Changes
in bank statements during the past month were rela­
tively unimportant. At the Federal Reserve Bank of
Richmond there was a small increase in discounts, but
maturing of some short term Government securities
held by the Bank reduced total earning assets slightly.
A seasonal decline in Federal Reserve notes in actual
T




March 1936

$1,360,170,000
53
359,000
$
358,117
2,975
9,692,773
$
$ 24,371,000
$ 10,387,445
6,048,802
$
23,711
50,720,000

$1,088,418,000
50
$
504,000
266,890
2,727
$
6,587,201
$ 17,136,158
$
8,707,058
$
5,085,407
19,392
31,527,000

% Change
+25.0
4- 6.0
—28.8
+34.2
+ 9.1
+42.1
+42.2
+19.3
+18.9
+22.3
+60.9

circulation occurred between March 15
and April 15, and member banks re­
duced their reserve deposits. Report­
ing member banks increased loans and
discounts last month, but reduced in­
vestments in securities, while their
deposits rose moderately. Debits to
individual accounts figures in twentyfour cities were 25 per cent larger in
March 1937 than in March 1936, and
showed a seasonal increase of about
19
per cent over February debits. Em
ployment showed some increase during
the past month, but labor trouble de­
veloped at a few points in the district
and there appears to be considerable
tension between workers and employ­
ers in several fields, notably in textiles and tobacco.
Coal production in March was 61 per cent above March
1936 production, possibly because of fear that a coal
strike might develop on April 1. In fact, a suspension
of operations did develop in part of the Fifth district
coal region, but the trouble was settled after about
two weeks. Cotton textile mills set new records for
cotton consumption in March in both the district and
the United States, and South Carolina continued to
lead the Nation in average hours of operation per

MONTHLY REVIEW

2

spindle in place. Spot cotton prices advanced in the
latter half of March to 14.91 cents per pound at the
end of the month, but in the first half of April prices
declined about $7 per bale. Building work continued
to expand in March, valuation of city building permits
issued rising 42.1 per cent and contracts actually
awarded totaling 42.2 per cent more in aggregate
amounts than corresponding figures in March 1936.
The 1937 crop year is beginning favorably, with farm
work normally advanced for the season in most of the
district, fall sown grains in better condition than a
year ago, and increased acreages intended for most
leading crops, especially the major cash crops such as
tobacco, potatoes and peanuts. No official informa­
tion on probable cotton planting is available, publication
of such figures by the Department of Agriculture on
that crop being forbidden by law.
Reserve Bank Statement

ITEMS

000 omitted
April 15 March 15 April 15
1937
1937
1936

$
414
Discounts held ...................................
120
Open market paper........................... . . .
. .,
2,704
Government securities ..................... ........ 131,609
Total earning assets..................... ........
134,847
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes................. 196,191
Members’ reserve deposits......................... 213,880
297,126
Cash reserves ...................................... . . .
69.85
Reserve ratio ..................................... . . .

$

149
120
2,762
133,417
136,448
198,155
224,183
311,518
70.54

$

179
190
4,186
116,716
121,271
174,638
177,505
276,199
70.78

Items on the statement of the Federal Reserve Bank
of Richmond nearly all declined between the middle of
March and the middle of April this year, discounts for
member banks, which rose by $265,000 during the
month, being the only exception. No change occurred
in the portfolio of open market paper, but advances
direct to industry for working capital decreased by
$58,000 and ownership of Government securities
dropped by $1,808,000. The several changes resulted
in a net decline of $1,601,000 in total earning assets
between March 15 and April 15. Circulation of Fed­
eral Reserve notes declined by $1,964,000 during the
past month, in keeping with the trend at this season,
and member banks reduced their reserve deposits by
$10,303,000. Cash reserves of the Federal Reserve
Bank of Richmond dropped $14,392,000 between the
middle of March and the middle of April, and the
ratio of cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities
combined declined by 69/100ths of 1 point.
In comparison with condition figures at mid-April
last year, those for April 15 this year show material
increases in most items. Discounts held rose by $235,000 , while the portfolio of open market paper declined
$70,000 and industrial advances decreased $1,482,000,
all relatively small changes, but an increase of $14,893,000 in Government securities owned brought a net
gain during the year of $13,576,000 in total earning
assets. Federal Reserve notes in actual circulation rose
by $21,553,000 between the middle of April last year
and this, due chiefly to increased business activity this
year and to higher price levels in many lines. Member
bank reserve deposits increased by $36,375,000 during
the year, partly due to higher reserve requirements but
chiefly to an increase in surplus funds for which prof­




itable investment was not found. Cash reserves of the
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond rose by $20,927,000 since April 15 last year, but the large increases
in note circulation and reserve deposits resulted in a
decline of 93/100ths of 1 point in the ratio of cash
reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined.
Statement of 41 Member Banks

ITEMS

000 omitted
April 14 March 17 April 15
1936
1937
1937

Loans on stocks and bonds (including
Governments) ......................... ................. $ 75,379
164,986
All other loans........................... .................
Total loans and discounts. . .................. 240,365
Investments in securities........
Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank.
Cash in vaults........................... .................
19,837
Demand denosits ..................... .................. 470,213
Time deposits ...........................
Money borrowed ....................... ..................
0

$ 73,491
158,250
231,741
422,851
133,823
18,390
464,373
196,561
0

$ 69,816
126,133
195,949
369,241
115,386
16,044
408,141
193,159
0

The accompanying table shows the principal items
of condition for forty-one regularly reporting member
banks in twelve Fifth district cities as of three dates,
thus affording comparison of the latest figures, those
for April 14 this year, with figures for the preceding
month, March 17, 1937, and for the preceding year,
April 15, 1936. It should be understood that the fig­
ures are not necessarily the highest or lowest figures
which occurred during the periods reviewed, but reflect
the condition of the reporting banks on the report
dates only.
During the past month, loans and discounts rose by
$8,624,000, of which $1,888,000 represented loans on
securities and $6,736,000 represented all other loans,
chiefly commercial, agricultural or industrial in char­
acter. On the other hand, the forty-one banks lowered
their investments in securities by $32,581,000 during
the past month, but about 70 per cent of this reduction
was in one large institution. Aggregate reserve balance
carried at the Reserve bank by the forty-one reporting
banks declined by $5,197,000 between March 17 and
April 14, but cash in vaults rose by $1,447,000 during
the same period. Total deposits increased by $6,362,000 since March 17, of which $5,840,000 was in de­
mand deposits and $522,000 in time deposits.
All figures in the composite statement show increases
during the past year. Total loans and investments rose
by $44,416,000, of which $5,563,000 was in loans on
securities and $38,853,000 represented for the most
part business loans. Investments in securities rose by
$21,029,000 during the year, almost all of the rise
being in Governments, either direct obligations or
paper guaranteed by the Government as to principal
and interest. Aggregate reserve balance of the report­
ing banks at the Reserve bank rose by $13,240,000
during the year, due to further accumulation of sur­
plus funds. Cash in vaults increased $3,793,000 be­
tween the middle of April last year and this, and
aggregate deposits rose by $65,996,000, of which $62,072,000 was in demand deposits and $3,924,000 in
time and savings deposits. None of the reporting
banks borrowed at the Reserve bank or elsewhere dur­
ing the past year.

3

MONTHLY REVIEW
Time and Savings Deposits

Time deposits in forty-one reporting member banks
in the Fifth district and aggregate deposits in ten
mutual savings banks in Baltimore totaled $412,452,008 at the end of March 1937, a higher figure than
either $411,099,516 reported at the end of February
this year or $398,828,153 at the end of March last
year. Both the savings banks and the member banks
reported higher figures at the end of March than either
a month or a year earlier, the savings banks gaining
4.7 per cent and the member banks 2.0 per cent during
the year. The month’s gains were small fractions of
1 per cent.
Debits to Individual Accounts

CITIES

000 omitted
March
February
1937
1937

Maryland
Baltimore ............... $
Cumberland ..........
Hagerstown ............
Three Md. Cities .

385,316
9,549
9,121
403,986

D. of Columbia
Washington ............
One D. C. C ity...

286,123
286,123

Virginia
Danville .................
Lynchburg ..............
Newport News . . . .
Norfolk ...................
Portsmouth ..............
Richmond ................
Roanoke ..................
Seven Va. Cities..

$

333,259
7,456
7,412
348,127

March
1936

$

% of Change
Month
Year

317,878
7,367
6,946
332,191

+
+
+
+

15.6
28.1
23.1
16.0

+
+
+
+

21.2
29.6
31.3
21.6

236,526
236,526

227,178
227,178

+ 21.0
+21.0

+ 25.9
+ 25.9

9,392
15,636
10,120
56,324
4,211
153,981
30,122
279,786

9,097
13,437
8,819
47,018
3,476
131,888
25,286
239,021

7,368
13,871
7,970
43,732
3.428
127,389
23,665
227,423

+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+

3.4
16.4
14.8
19.8
21.1
16.8
19.1
17.1

+ 27.5
+ 12.7
27.0
+ 28.8
+ 22.8
+ 20.9
+ 27.3
+ 23.0

West Virginia
Charleston ..............
Huntington ...........
Two W. Va. Cities

54,988
20,381
75,369

44,570
15,573
60,143

44,041
13,521
57,562

(-23.4
H
(-30.9
+25.3

+ 24.9
+ 50.7
+ 30.9

North Carolina
Asheville ..................
Charlotte ........ .
Durham ...................
Greensboro ............
Raleigh ...................
Wilmington ............
Winston-Salem . . .
Seven N. C. Cities

13,500
69,320
26,895
20,076
42,873
12,603
43,422
228,689

10,896
54,915
25,946
17,540
35,768
10,137
35,106
190,308

10,876
51,887
21,275
14,498
34,716
9,270
36,531
179,053

[-23.9
-26.2
- 3.7
-14.5
-19.9
-24.3
-23.7
+ 20.2

+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+

South Carolina
Charleston ..............
Columbia ................
Greenville ................
Spartanburg ............
Four S. C. Cities.

20,286
31,982
23,077
10,872
86,217

16,405
26,557
19,606
8,919
71,487

15,269
26,091
16,360
7,291
65,011

+
+
+
+
+

23.7
20.4
17.7
21.9
20.6

(-32.9
-22.6
-41.1
-49.1
+ 32.6

District, 24 Cities $ 1,360,170

$ 1,145,612

$ 1,088,418

+ 18.7

+25.0

24.1
33.6
26.4
38.5
23.5
36.0
18.9
27.7

Debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts
in the banks of twenty-four Fifth district cities total­
ing $1,360,170,000 in March 1937 showed an increase
of $214,558,000, or 18.7 per cent, over debits in the
preceding month of February this year, and a gain of
$271,752,000, or 25.0 per cent, over debits in the cor­
responding month of March last year. The increase
during the past month, which was largely seasonal,
was caused by income tax payments in March and the
three extra days in March over1 February, but the rise
over March 1936 figures was due chiefly to an in­
creased volume of trade and industry this year. Every
reporting city showed larger figures for March 1937
than for either February 1937 or March 1936. Hunt
ington with an increase of 30.9 per cent in March over




February figures led all cities in percentage gain last
month, and also led in gain over March 1936 figures
with an increase of 50.7 per cent, but debits in that
city were increased last month as a result of the flood
in late January and early February.
Employment

Favorable weather for outside work stimulated sea­
sonal increases in employment in several fields in the
Fifth Reserve district in March and the first three
weeks in April, but industrial work in scattered locali­
ties was retarded by strikes and there is some fear of
further labor trouble, especially in textile plans which
have been operating at top speed. Construction work
continues to expand, particularly residential work and
projects financed by private capital. Unless strikes
develop over a wide front, the outlook for employment
during the rest of the year now appears better than
at any other time since the depression began.
The following figures, compiled for the most part
by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from reports fur­
nished by a large number of identical industries, show
the trends of employment and payrolls in the Fifth dis­
trict geographical divisions from January to February
1937, the latest available figures:
Percentage change from
January to February
In number
In amount
on payroll
of payroll

States

(-1.0
- .3
-1.4
H .3
-2.3
- .8

D. of Columbia .......................
West Virginia .......................
North Carolina .......................
South Carolina .......................

+
+
+
+
+
+

1.8
.7
1.3
.6
2.8

Coal Production

Total production of bituminous coal in the United
States was 50,720,000 net tons in March 1937, an
increase of 20.4 per cent over 42,110,000 tons mined in
February this year and 60.9 per cent over 31,527,000
tons dug in March last year. On a daily basis, pro­
duction in March 1937 was only 6.6 per cent above
February 1937 but 54.9 per cent above March 1936.
Total output during the first quarter of 1937 was 133,770,000 net tons compared with 112,476,000 tons
mined in the corresponding period last year, an in­
crease of 18.9 per cent. Shipments of coal through
Hampton Roads ports to April 3 totaled 6,521,559 tons
this year, 5,457,677 tons to the same date last year,
and 5,885,031 tons to April 3, 1929.
In its April 10 report the Bureau of Mines gave
State production figures for February 1937 and 1936.
and Fifth district coal states, which dug 27.7 per cent
of the National total, were reported as follows:
States
West Virginia ............
Virginia .......................
Maryland .....................
5th District ..................
United States .............

Production
February 1937
10,380,000
1,140,000
160,000
11,680,000
42,110,000

tons
tons
tons
tons
tons

Production
February 1936
10,103,000
1,045,000
188,000
11,336,000
41,154,000

tons
tons
tons
tons
tons

Percentage
chancre
+ 2.7
4“ 9*1
— 14.9
+ 3.0
+ 2.3

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

Cotton Textiles

An increase during March of 2.3 per cent in the daily
cotton consumution in Fifth district textile mills was
recorded over daily consumption in February, and total
consumption rose 15.1 per cent, due to the longer
month. Last month also showed an increase of 34.2
per cent over consumption in March 1936. The three
textile manufacturing states in the Fifth district used
more cotton in March than in any other month on record,
but consumed only 46 per cent of the National total
in comparison with 48.5 per cent used in the district in
March last year. Consumption of cotton in the dis­
trict in March 1937, February 1937 and March 1936
was as follows, in bales:
Months

No. Carolina So. Carolina

Virginia

District

March 1937................... ..... 198,392
February 1937................... 171,997
March 1936................. ..... 143,698

143,873
125,472
109,152

15,852
13,726
14,040

358,117
311,195
266,890

3 Months, 1937.................544,804
3 Months, 1936................. 431,207

397,044
324,323

42,884
41,023

984,732
796,553

On March 19, the Department of Commerce issued
a report on spindles in place, spindles active in Feb­
ruary, total spindle hours of operation in February,
and average hours of operation per spindle in place in
February. On February 28, 1937, there were 27,103,076 spindles in place in the United States, North Caro­
lina leading with 6,063,902, or 22.4 per cent of the
total, while South Carolina ranked second with 5,679,236 spindles, or 21.0 per cent, and Massachusetts
third with 4,062,536 spindles, or 15.0 per cent. The
Fifth district as a whole had 45.7 per cent of total
spindles in place in the United States at the end of
February 1937, of which 94.9 per cent were active at
some time during the month. In actual spindle hours
of operation, South Carolina led all states for February
with 2,071,196,312 hours, or 24.8 per cent of the Na­
tional total of 8,352,662,()65 hours, and North Carolina
ranked second with 1,915,610,429 hours, or 22.9 per
cent. The Fifth district, with 45.7 per cent of total
spindles in the United States in place in February,
showed 50.0 per cent of total hours of operation. In
actual hours of operation per spindle in place, South
Carolina with an average of 365 hours per spindle
ranked first, but North Carolina with 315 hours tied
for sixth place with Mississippi and Virginia with 292
hours ranked no better than ninth. The average hours
of operation for the United States was 308 per spin­
dle in place.
Statistics on Cotton

Spot cotton prices between March 19 and April 16
on ten Southern markets moved in a curve, rising from
14.16 cents for middling grade % inch upland cotton
on March 19 to 14,91 cents on March 30, and then
falling off to 13.48 cents on April 16, the latest date
for which the average price is available. The decline
in April began apparently as a result of selling by
foreign interests following rumors that our Govern­
ment contemplated a reduction in the price of gold
and continued on further selling pressure from both
foreign and domestic sources. The later drop in cotton !




was also associated with a decline in the general level
of prices of other commodities around the middle of
April. The following figures show recent trends in
the spot market, and comparitive per pound prices in
nine earlier years on the corresponding Fridays near­
est the 1937 dates:
Middling Grade, % inch Upland Cotton, Per Pound
Years
1937
1936
1935
1934
1933
1932
1931
1930
1929

Mar. 19

Mar. 26

April 2

April 9

April 16

14.16
11.40
11.23
12.15
6.32
6.43
10.08
15.36
19.62

14.23
11.64
11.29
11.90
6.24
6.19
10.07
15.31
19.58

14.62
11.57
11.25
12.03
6.16
5.92
9.77
15.70
19.31

14.23
11.61
11.89
12.11
6.42
5.74
9.51
15.54
19.32

13.48
11.62
11.96
11.87
6.70
5.96
9.48
15.16
18.97

Cotton consumption figures as released by the Cen­
sus Bureau broke all previous records in March, and
exceeded March 1936 consumption by 41.5 per cent.
Bales of cotton consumed in the United States during
the eight months of the present cotton year, beginning
last August 1, totaled 29.7 per cent more than the
cotton used during the corresponding eight months
ended March 31, 1936. Consuming establishments on
March 31 this year held 55.6 per cent more cotton
than a year earlier, but cotton in public storage and
compresses declined 23.3 per cent during the year.
Cotton Consumed and On Hand
(Bales)
March
1937
Fifth district states :
Cotton consumed ..............
Cotton growing states:
Cotton consumed ................
Cotton on hand Mar. 31 in
consuming establishments
Storage & compressas.. . .

March
1936

Aug. 1 to Mar. 31
This yr. Lastyr.

358,117

266,890

2,470,789

1,956,957

642,440

466,775

4,415,155

3,425,504

1,711,123
4,925,740

1,113,743
6,452,752

..........
..........

..........
..........

United States:
Cotton consumed ................
779,302
Cotton on hand Mar. 31 in
consuming establishmemits 2,079,862
Storage & compresses... 5,036,962

550,641

5,291,936

4,080,999

1,336,529
6,570,222

..........
..........

..........
..........

404,741

4,389,199

4,814,360

Exports of cotton .................

467,706

Cotton seed received at the United States mills be­
tween August 1, 1936, and March 31, 1937, totaled
4,392,789 tons, compared with 3,647,196 tons received
in the eight months ended March 31, 1936. Of the
receipts mentioned, North Carolina mills took 226,555
tons this year and 218,330 tons last year, and South
Carolina mills received 215,498 tons and 198,184 tons
in the two periods, respectively. The mills crushed
4,100,301 tons of seed in the period ended March 31
this year, and had 314,179 tons on hand at the end of
the period, compared with 3,537,467 tons crushed in
the eight months ended March 31, 1936, and 199,304
tons on hand on that date.
Tobacco Manufacturing

Tobacco manufacturing increased further in March
1937, and made a better comparison with figures for
the corresponding month last year than was shown in
February 1937. Output of tobacco products in March
1937 and March 1936 in the United States, according

5

MONTHLY REVIEW

to the report of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, was
as follows:
March 1937
Smoking & Chewing
Tobacco, Pounds ........ .
Cigarettes, Number .........
Cigars, Number ..............
Snuff, Pounds ..................

27,878,554
12,791,724,170
466,831,085
3,205,251

March 1936
26,996,069
11,193,046,810
377,167,052
3,319,160

% Change

+ 3.3
+ 14.3
+ 23.8
— 3.4

No production figures were released on a State basis,
but at the rate of production attained by Fifth district
States in 1936 the district manufactured approximately
10.745.048.000 cigarettes last month, or 84 per cent of
the National total; 14,327,000 pounds of smoking to­
bacco and snuff, or 45 per cent of the total; and 51,351.000 cigars, or 11 per qent of the total. Taxes
paid to the Federal Treasury in March 1937 on to­
bacco manufacture totaled $45,125,495, compared with
$39,975,260 paid in March 1936, an increase last month
of 12.9 per cent.
Agricultural Notes

The past winter was comparatively mild, and winter
grains began spring growth in excellent condition. The
average condition of wheat in the Fifth district on
April 1 was materially better than a year earlier, al­
though cold weather in March retarded development.
However, the cold delayed premature swelling of ap­
ple buds, and present indications point to good pros­
pects for apples this year unless very unfavorable
weather occurs at blooming time. Intentions to plant
figures released by the Department of Agriculture on
March 19 showed that acreages of most crops will
probably be increased in the Fifth district this year
Maryland farmers indicated larger plantings of tobac­
co, cowpeas and soybeans, reduced acreage to oats,
and the same acreages to corn, barley, hay, potatoes
and sweet potatoes. West Virginia farmers intend to
increase corn, tobacco, cowpeas and hay, reduce oats,
and leave barley, potatoes and soybeans unchanged.
Virginia acreages planted to corn, oats, barley, hay,
soybeans, cowpeas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts
and tobacco will all be increased this year, according
to farmers’ reports. North Carolina farmers intend
to shift extensively from certain food and feed crops
to major cash crops. Increased plantings this year of
barley, hay, potatoes, tobacco and peanuts are reported,
while corn and sweet potato acreages will be reduced.
South Carolina farmers plan to increase acreages
planted to potatoes, tobacco, soybeans and cowpeas, but
plantings of corn and bats will be reduced and hay,
sweet potatoes and peanut acreages will remain ap­
proximately unchanged.

Building Permits Issued in March 1937 and 1936
Permits Issued
1937
1936

CITIES
Baltimore, Md............................
Cumberland, Md.........................
Frederick, Md.............................
Hagerstown, Md..................... ..
Salisbury, Md.............................
Danville, Va...............................
Lynchburg, Va...........................
Norfolk, Va..............................
Petersburg, Va.........................
Portsmouth, Va.......................
Richmond, Va...........................
Roanoke, Va...............................
Bluefield, W. Va.......................
Charleston, W. Va...................
Clarksburg, W. Va...................
Huntington, W. Va.................
Asheville, N. C.........................
Charlotte, N. C.........................
Durham, N. C...........................
Greensboro, N. C.......................
High Point, N. C.......................
Raleigh, N. C.............................
Rocky Mount, N. C.................
Salisbury, N. C.........................
Winston-Salem, N. C.............
Charleston, S. C.........................
Columbia, S. C.........................
Greenville, S. C.........................
Rock Hill, S. C.........................
Spartanburg, S. C....... ...........
Washington, D. C...................

849
23
15
23
26
46
44
132
2
34
149
51
13
134
57
46
48
92
47
45
52
30
24
7
114
46
76
57
23
31
639

District Totals ................... 2,975

Total Valuation,
1937
1936

801
8
11
11
17
35
40
129
1
51
111
59
8
115
49
23
35
107
32
59
49
18
12
9
119
50
54
80
34
25
575

$2,157,960
23,270
28,430
32,345
16,725
141,389
283,721
130,555
3,500
16,756
394,616
113,628
45,840
230,555
76,482
329,315
56,115
272,931
167,052
104,325
55,915
424,840
181,520
21,275
264,415
72,507
159,216
126,042
42,315
106,383
3,612,835

$1,394,040
8,350
65,216
7,145
155,530
107,740
58,102
98,199
4,000
17,280
333,776
73,902
6,800
219,070
29,811
273,755
29,940
162,707
171,318
118,057
25,248
14,300
10,540
16,460
135,501
522,802
93,038
171,807
51,700
23,982
2,187,085

2,727

$9,692,773

$6,587,201

amounting to $9,692,773 showed an increase of 42.1
pter cent over March 1936 valuation of $6,587,201.
Twenty-two cities reported more permits issued last
month than in March last year, and twenty-three cities
reported higher valuation figures. Contracts awarded
for all types of work, and including both rural and
urban projects, totaled $24,371,500 in March this year,
of which $9,898,500 represented residential construc­
tion, compared with contract awards totaling only
$17,136,158 in the Fifth district in March 1936, with
$6,109,238, or 36 per cent of the total, being for resi­
dential work. Total awards in March this year ex­
ceeded the March 1936 awards by 42.2 per cent.
Contract award figures as compiled by the F. W.
Dodge Corporation are now available by States for
February 1937 and 1936, and are as follows for the
Fifth district:
Construction Contracts Awarded
States
Maryland ...............................
D. of Col................................
Virginia ...............................
West Va..................................
No. Carolina..........................
So. Carolina..........................
District .......... i ........... .

Feb. 1937

Feb. 1936

$ 4,097,400
7,274,800
4,833,900
1,211,400
2,297,500
2,158,400
$21,873,400

$ 2,943,800
2,376,700
1,640,800
1,230,100
2,527,200
■ 2,681,700
;
$13,400,300

% Change
+ 39.2
4-206.1
-j-194.6
— 1.5
— 9.1
— 1Q.5
+ 63.2

Automobile New Car Registrations

Automobile sales figures are good indicators of con­
sumer buying power, and registrations of new passen­
ger cars in the Fifth Federal Reserve district in the
Construction
first three months of 1937 totaled 31 per cent more
Building permits issued in thirty-one Fifth district than registrations in the corresponding period of 1936.
cities in March 1937 showed marked improvement over; There was also a shift from the three most popular
the figures reported for March last year in both num­ makes to higher priced cars, registrations of the three
ber and total valuation. Last month 2,975 permits making up only 67.0 per cent of total new car regis­
were issued for all classes of work, compared with trations in the first quarter of this year in comparison
2,727 permits issued in March 1936, an increase of with 72.5 per cent in the first quarter last year. Reg­
9.1 per cent. Total valuation figures for March 1937 istrations of new passenger cars in Fifth district States




MONTHLY REVIEW

6

between January 1 and March 31 this year and last,
according to figures compiled by R. L. Polk & Co.,
were as follows:
Registrations of New Passenger Care
3 Months
1937

States

3 Months
1936

% Increase

Maryland ................. .....................
........................
.......................
West Virginia ...............................
North Carolina...............................
South Carolina...............................

10,959
7,175
11,641
7,063
12,697
7,213

7,419
7,000
9,427
5,978
8,578
4,915

1-47.7
- 2.5
-23.5
hl8.1
-48.0
-46.8

5th District .................................

56,748

43,317

+ 31.0

Retail Trade, 28 Department Stores
Baltimore
Washington
Other Cities
District
March 1937 sales, compared with sales in March 1936:
—19.3
j—
+14.0
+23.6
+17.6
Jan.-March 1937 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-March 1936:
+13.6
+ 9.0
+14.4
+11.6
Mar. 31, 1937, stocks, compared with stocks on Mar. 31, 1936:
+10.3
+15.5
+ 9.9
+12.5
Mar. 31, 1937, stocks, compared with stocks on Feb. 28, 1937:
+ 5.7
+ 5.6
+ 5.3
+5 .6
Number of times stocks were turned in March 1937:
.357
.361
.343
.356
Number of times stocks were turned since Jan. 1, 1937:
.885
.948
.845
.906
Percentage of Mar. 1, 1937, receivables collected in March:
31.8
27.7
31.8
29.7

In addition to the 28 stores which reported on sales,
stocks, receivables and collections, sales figures alone

were received from 26 other stores representing for
the most part smaller cities and towns. The sales in
these 2*6 stores have been combined with sales in the
28 stores in the above table, and percentage changes
calculated on a State basis, as follows:
Va.
W. Va.
N. C.
S. C.
District
12*
8*
7*
11*
54*
March 1937 sales, compared with sales in March 1936:
+22.3
+49.2
+27.8
+25.2
+19.3
Jan.-March 1937 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-March 1936:
+14.5
+19.8
+17.4
+18.4
+12.4
♦Number of reporting stores.

Wholesale Trade, 56 Firms
21
Groceries

7
Dry Goods

6
Shoes

12
Hardware

10
Drugs

March 1937 sales, compared with sales in March 1936:
+20.5
— .1
+27.8
+27.6
+11.8
March 1937 sales, compared with sales in February 1937:
+16.8
+17.2
+37.6
+30.4
+ 7.2
Jan.-March 1937 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-March 1936:
r
+13.7
+10.1
+21.6
. +25.7
+10.7
March 31, 1937, stocks, compared with stocks on Mar. 31, 1936:
+16.3(8*) +45.2(3*) +22.2(4*) + 9.5(7*)
March 31, 1937, stocks, compared with stocks on Feb. 28, 1937:
+ 1.2(8*) + 3.3(3*) —16.5(4*) + 4.0(7*)
Percentage of collections in March to receivables March 1:
120.9(12*) 41.5(4*)
48.7(5*))
50.7(11*)
71.4(6*)
♦Number of reporting firms.

(Compiled April 21, 1937)

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

In March industrial activity continued to increase and
payrolls at factories and mines showed a substantial
rise. Prices of basic commodities after advancing rapidly
in March declined in the first half of April.
IND USTRIAL PRODUCTION

Production and Employment

Industrial production increased from February to
March and the Board’s seasonally adjusted index ad­
vanced from 116 percent of the 1923-1925 average to
FACTORY EMPLOYMENT AND PAYROLLS
PERCENT

PER CENT

120

120
110

A A

100 K

110

\

100

A

90

7
*

90

ym
Emp!<D ent
80

- /
/ sj

70

\
ro!ls_^
Payr
1

60

j

70

/
* ' V*
A i
I .
f
/
»/■
V

60
50

S i

50

J

80

40

40
30

30
1929

Index of physical volume of production, adjusted for seasonal
variation, 1923-25 average=100. By months, January 1929 through
March 1937.




1930

1931

1932

1933

1934

1935

1936

1937

Indexes of number employed and payrolls, without adjustment far
seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average=100. By months, January 1929
to March 1937. Indexes compiled by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Sta­
tistics.

7

MONTHLY REVIEW

118 percent. The rise reflected a sharp increase in out­
put of minerals, chiefly coal, and an increase of some­
what more than the usual seasonal amount in manufac­
turing. The larger output of coal in March was due in
part to stocking by consumers in anticipation of a pos­
sible strike at bituminous coal mines on April 1 when
the agreement between mine operators and the miners’
union expired. A new agreement was reached on April
2 but, owing partly to the previous accumulation of
stocks, production in the first ten days of April showed a
sharp decline. During March activity at steel mills in­
creased seasonally and in the first three weeks of April
was over 90 percent of capacity. In the automobile in­
dustry output showed about the usual seasonal increase
in March and the first three weeks of April, considerable
fluctuations during this period being largely in response
to developments in the labor situation. Lumber pro­
duction expanded considerably in March, and there was
a sharp rise in output of nonferrous metals. Cotton con­
sumption, which has been at an unusually high level in
recent months, increased further in March and in actual
amount was larger than in any previous month. Produc­
tion at woolen mills and shoe factories continued in large
volume.
Value of construction contracts awarded in March, as
reported by the F. W. Dodge Corporation, was at about
the same level as in February and substantially higher
than a year ago. Privately-financed work increased,
while the amount of publicly-financed work continued to
decline. The increase in privately-financed projects re­
flected a larger volume of residential building and of fac­
tory and commercial construction.
Employment and payrolls increased by considerably
more than the usual seasonal amount between the middle
of February and the middle of March. The expansion
in payrolls was larger than in employment, reflecting in
part a further rise in wage rates. In manufacturing, the
principal increases in employment were in industries pro­
ducing durable goods, particularly steel, machinery, and
lum,ber. The number employed in the production of
nondurable manufactures showed slightly more than the
usual seasonal rise.
W HO LESALE

P R IC E S

PER C ENT

Distribution

Distribution of commodities to consumers showed
about the usual seasonal increase from February to
March. Mail-order sales expanded considerably but the
rise in department store sales was less than seasonal, con­
sidering the early date of Easter this year.
Commodity Prices

Prices of nonferrous metals, steel scrap, rubber, cotton,
and wheat, which had advanced rapidly in March, de­
clined considerably in the first half of April. Since the
middle of March prices of coke, tin plate, and rayon have
advanced and there have been smaller increases in a wide
variety of other industrial products. Dairy products have
declined, reflecting in part seasonal developments.
Bank Credit

In the four-week period from March 24 to April 21 ex­
cess reserves of member banks increased from $1,270,000,000 to $1,590,000,000, reflecting principally dis­
bursements by the Treasury from balances with Federal
Reserve banks and purchases of U. S. Government obli­
gations by the Federal Reserve System. The bulk of
the increase in excess reserves was at banks in New York
City and Chicago.
Total loans and investments of reporting member
banks, which had declined sharply in March, reflecting
sales of U. S. Government obligations, showed little
change in the two weeks ending April 14. Loans to
brokers and dealers in securities declined from the mid­
dle of March to the middle of April, while other loans,
which include loans for commercial, industrial, and agri­
cultural purposes, showed a substantial increase. These
loans have increased almost continuously over the past
year.
Demand deposits, after declining in March, increased
somewhat in the first half of April, and there was an in­
crease in foreign bank balances, reflecting an inward
movement of short-term funds from abroad.
Money Rates

The rate on prime commercial paper advanced from £4
percent to 1 percent in the latter part of March. Bond
yields, which had advanced sharply in March, showed
no pronounced change in the first three weeks of April.

PER CE N T

f10

BILLIONS OP DOLLARS

M EM BER BA N K CREDIT
BILLIONS O F D O L L A R S

24

100
Total Loan
and Investme

—

90

23

*ts 7 ^

22
21
20

L

80

—
II c /S^/4
^ Obligations
...

d

70

\

[

60

s i+ S *
Tote> Loans
1

50

Other Securities

40
30
1932

1933

1934

1935

1936

1937

1
—

’34

Indexes compiled by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1926=
100. By weeks, 1932 to date. Latest figure is for week ending April
17, 1937.




cities.

1935

'3 4

1

1935

Wednesday figures for reporting member banks in 101 leading
September 5, 1934, to April 14, 1937.

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