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MONTHLY REVIEW
of Financial and Business Conditions

FlFTH
Federal

Reserve
is t r ic t

Federal Reserve Bank, Richmond, Va.

I

N the Fifth Reserve district during the past month there
was a substantial shift of excess reserves of member
banks to the credit of the Treasury through the purchase
of Government securities sold on December 15. At the
Reserve bank, members' reserve deposits declined by
$17,350,000 between November 15 and December 15, and
investments in securities at forty-one reporting member
banks rose $26,896,000 during the same period. Federal
Reserve notes in actual circulation declined slightly last
month, reflecting decreased payrolls in many industries
and a smaller expansion in retail trade than usually occurs
at the holiday season. Both demand and time deposits
dropped in reporting member banks after the middle of
November. Debits to individual accounts in twenty-four
Fifth district cities declined by 10.8 per cent in November
in comparison with October figures, a somewhat larger
decrease than occurs in most years. A moderate decrease
from October to November is seasonal, due to quarterly
payments debited early in October.
Business and trade in November and early December
were below seasonal expectations in many lines, but lev­
eled off substantially from the relatively precipitate drop
of September and October. There was some further de­
cline in employment other than that accounted for by
seasonal slowing up in construction and other outside
work. Commercial failures last month were more numer­
ous in the district than in either October this year or
November last year, but liabilities were much below those
of a year ago. New automobile registrations in the dis­
trict in November were 10.8 per cent fewer than regis­
trations in the corresponding month last year, but one of
the largest selling lines was off the market most of last
month. Construction provided for in both city building
permits issued and contracts awarded in November was
less than was provided for in November 1936, but the
decline was moderate and not greater than frequently de­
velops between corresponding months under normal con­
ditions. Bituminous coal mined last month was less than
the tonnage mined in either October 1937 or November




D

December 31,1937
1936, the slump in output being partly due to lessened
demand from industry and partly to an unsettled situation
in the coal market pending announcement of price ranges
and differentials for different fields, to be set by the Na­
tional Bituminous Coal Commission. Both cotton and
rayon textile mills continued to restrict operations sub­
stantially in November, but some progress was appar­
ently made in inventory reduction in certain textile lines
early in December, especially in unfinished goods. Spot
cotton prices rose about half a cent a pound last month,
in spite of reduced consumption by the textile mills and
a further rise in the Department of Agriculture's fore­
cast of production. Plans to include cotton in Govern­
ment control measures for next year appear to have been
the chief influence in strengthening cotton prices. Final
estimates on the 1937 cotton crop show the largest yield
on record, and slightly more than 50 per cent above last
year's crop. Fifth district cotton growing states produced
27.3 per cent more than in 1936. Tobacco prices in North
Carolina continued higher in November than prices a
year earlier, but Virginia prices were a shade lower last
month. Tobacco manufacturers turned out more cigars,
cigarettes, smoking tobacco and snuff in November 1937
than in November 1936. Retail trade in department stores
last month was spotted, but averaged slightly above the
business done in November, 1936, while wholesale trade
was in smaller volume this year in most lines.
There follows a statistical summary of conditions de­
scribed above:
%
Nov. 1937

Debits to individual accounts (24
cities) ............................................
No. of business failures, 5th district
Liabilities in failures, 5th district..
Sales, 57 dept, stores, 5th district...
Sales, 59 wholesale firms in 5 lines
Registrations, new passenger autos.
Value bldg. permits (31 cities)........
Value of contracts awarded, 5th dist.
Cotton consumption, 5th dist. (bales)
Soft coal mined, U. S. (tons)..........

$1,271,937,000
52
660,000
$
$ 11,372,473
4,960,293
$
14,995
6,155,316
%
% 19,578,700
243.550
35,300,000

Nov. 1936

$1,241,274,000
44
1,201,000
$
$ 11,326,539
5,365,148
$
16,802
6,913,845
$
$ 20,930,600
294,686
41,879,000

Change

+ 2.5
-f 18.2
— 45.0
+
.4
— 7.5
— 10.8
— 11.0
- 6.5
— 17.4
— 15.7

2

MONTHLY REVIEW

BA N K IN G CONDITIONS

CITIES

R eserve Bank Statement : Discounts for member
banks at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond increased
$200,000 between November 15 and December 15, 1937,
and on the latter date were $691,000 above discounts on
December 15, 1936. Government security holdings also
rose by $335,000 during the month and $8,563,000 during
the year. On the other hand, industrial loans declined by
$44,000 and $893,000 in the month and year, respectively.
Federal Reserve notes in actual circulation declined by
$725,000 last month, contrary to seasonal trend, but on
December 15 totaled $3,544,000 above outstanding circu­
lation a year ago. Member bank reserve deposits declined
$17,350,000 between the middle of November and the
middle of December, approximately half of which was
apparently invested by member banks in Government se­
curities. The several changes in the statement resulted
in a decrease of $8,881,000 in cash reserves of the Fed­
eral Reserve Bank of Richmond between November 15
and December 15.
ITEMS
Discounts held ..................................... ........
Open market paper ...........................
Industrial advances ........................... ........
Government securities .................................
Total earning assets .....................
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes.................
Members’ reserve deposits ..........
........
Cash reserves ......................................
Reserve ratio ........................................

000 omitted
Dec. 15
Nov. 15
1937
1937
$
715
$
515
110
110
2,330
2,374
134,396
134.061
$137,060
213,211
213,936
215,121
232,471
345,238
72.46

Dec. 15
1936
$
24
121
3,223
125,833
$129,201
209,667
212,412
311,564
71.78

Statement of 41 R eporting M ember Ba n k s : Fortyone regularly reporting member banks in twelve Fifth dis­
trict cities increased loans and discounts by $1,448,000 be­
tween November 17 and December 15, 1937, while their
investments in securities, chiefly Government issues, rose
by $26,896,000. Aggregate reserve balances of the report­
ing banks decreased $10,005,000 during the month, chiefly
due to the purchase of Government securities. Deposits
declined materially during the past month, demand de­
posits of individuals, firms and corporations falling by
$5,825,000 and time deposits decreasing by $5,572,000.
ITEMS
Loans & discounts .............................
Investments in securities ............... ........
Cash in vaults ..................................... ........
Demand deposits .................................
Time deposits....................................... ........
Money borrowed ..........................................

000 omitted
Dec. 15
Nov. 17
1937
1937
$254,288
$252,840
394,130
367,234
128,949
138,954
18,574
18,551
454,380
191,588
197,160
0
0

Dec. 16
1936
$227,327
430,967
133,708
18,907
477,383
192,538
0

D ebits to I ndividual A ccounts: Checks totaling $1,271,937,000 drawn against depositors’ accounts in twentyfour Fifth district cities in November this year amounted
to $154,218,000, or 10.8 per cent, less than checks drawn
in October, but a moderate decline in November is sea­
sonal because October witnesses a considerable volume of
quarterly payments. The November debits total exceeded
that of November 1936 by $30,663,000, or 2.5 per cent,
the smallest gain registered by any month this year over
the corresponding month last year. Debits in the second
half of 1937 have shown materially lower percentage in­
creases over 1936 figures than debits showed in the first
half of this year, thereby reflecting clearly the relatively
lower level of business activity during the autumn and
fell.




Maryland
Baltimore ............
Cumberland ____
Hagerstown ____
Dist. of Col.
Washington . . . .
Virginia
Danville ............
Lynchburg ........
Newport News .,
Portsmouth . . . .
Richmond ..........
Roanoke ............
West Virginia
Charleston ........
Huntington . . . .
North Carolina
Asheville ..........
Charlotte ..........
Durham ............
Greensboro ........
Raleigh .............
Wilmington . . . .
Winston-Salem
South Carolina
Charleston ........
Columbia ..........
Greenville ........
Spartanburg . . .
Fifth District .. .

Nov.
1937

000 omitted
Oct.
Nov.
1936
1937

% of Change
Month Year

$ 347,279
8,443
7,827

$ 378,930
9,350
9,459

$ 344,553
8,048
7,958

— 8.4
— 9.7
— 17.3

+
+
-

.8
4.9
1.6

250,647

259,753

240,047

— 3.5

+

4.4

15,986
15,061
« 8,450
48,444
4,032
169,243
27,343

10,069
16,664
9,102
51,553
3,995
217,476
27,757

14,570
16,009
9,341
45,587
3,988
168,976
30,192

— 16.2
- 9.6
— 7.2
— 6.0
+
.9
— 22.2
— 1.5

4—
—
+
+
+
—

9.7
5.9
9.5
6.3
1-1
.2
9.4

56,879
18,710

57,592
19,954

46,553
17,106

— 1.2
- 6.2

+22.2
+ 9.4

12,597
58,678
42,827
18,856
38,407
10,180
40,027

13,687
65,879
57,686
19,001
43,025
12,256
48,990

11,164
60,101
37,723
16,433
31,632
10,264
38,947

— 8.0
— 10.9
— 25.8
— .8
— 10.7
— 16.9
— 18.3

+ 12.8
— 2.4
+ 13.5
+ 14.7
+ 21.4
— .8
+ 2.8

15,983
28,235
18,121
9,682
$1,271,937

20,765
31,376
21,913
10,923
$1,426,155

16,019
32,766
23,157
10,140
$1,241,274

— 23.0
— 10.0
— 17.3
— 11.4
— 10.8

— .2
— 13.8
— 21.7
— 4.5
+ 2.5

M utual Savings Bank D eposits: After increasing
each month since July, deposits in ten mutual savings
banks in Baltimore declined slightly during November,
but little more than is customary at that season. Aggre­
gate deposits in the ten banks amounted to $218,047,433
on November 30, 1937, compared with $218,355,228 on
October 31, 1937, and $211,806,375 on November 30,
1936.
B U SIN E SS CONDITIONS
E mployment: Net changes in employment appear to
have been small during November and early December,
but on the whole the trend was downward. Some indus­
trial plants reduced working time, and railroad shops laid
off a portion of their employees, but extra help taken on
for the holiday season in retail circles partly balanced
these decreases. Coal production in November declined
from the October output, and textile mills still further
restricted operations last month, but on the other hand
the opening of additional tobacco markets in Virginia
since November 1 gave work to a number of employees.
The following figures, compiled by the Bureau of Labor
Statistics from records submitted by a large number of
identical industries, show the trends of employment and
payrolls in the Fifth district from October to November:
STATES
...................
D. of Columbia................................. ....................
....................
West Virginia .................................
North Carolina ............................... ...................
South Carolina................................. ...................

Percentage change from
Oct. to Nov. 1937
In number
In amount
on payroll
of payroll
— 2.7
— 6.6
+ 1 .1
+ -4
— 5.7
— 1.6
— 7.3
— 2.8
— 6.8
— .3
— 2.4

Data on commercial failures,
C o m m e r c ia l F a il u r e s :
compiled by Dun & Bradstreet, show more insolvencies
but lower liabilities in both the Fifth district and the
United States in November 1937 than in November 1936.
Failures in the district increased 18.2 per cent in com­
parison with 14.2 per cent in the United States, but the
district decrease of 45.0 per cent in liabilities involved

3

MONTHLY REVIEW

made a better comparison than the National decrease of
12.6 per cent.
Number of failures
PERIOD
District U. S
.
November 1937................... .........52
786
768
October
1937................... .........38
November 1936................... .........44
688

Total Liabilities
District
U. S.
$ 660,000
$ 10,078,000
564,000
9,335,000
1,201,000
11,532,000

11 Months, 1937...........................446
11 Months, 1936...........................435

$4,317,000
7,725,000

8,085
8,493

$102,303,000
134,965,000

A utomobile N ew Car R egistrations: New passenger

automobiles sold in the Fifth Reserve district in Novem­
ber fell below the number sold in October, and dropped
10.8 per cent below the number sold in November last
year. However, one of the leading manufacturers was
late in bringing out 1938 models, and was consequently
off the market entirely during most of November this
year. Maryland dealers sold 5.7 per cent more cars in
November this year than last, but all other Fifth district
states reported lower registration figures. The following
figures were collected by R. L. Polk & Company:
Registration of New Passenger Cars
STATES
Maryland ..........
D. of Col.............
Virginia ............
West Va..............
No Carolina . . .
So. Carolina . . . .
District ........

Nov.
1937
3,186
1,741
3,204
2,082
3,263
1,519
14,995

Nov.
1936
3,013
2,297
3,388
2,226
4,039
1.839
16,802

Change 11 Months 11 Months
1937
1936
+ 5.7
43,850
39,732
—24.2
26,789
29,969
— 5.4
47,704
45,903
— 6.5
34,238
34,276
— 19.2
50,359
43,467
— 17.4
25,722
21,586
— 10.8 228,662
214,933

Change
+ 10.4
— 10.6
+ 3.9
— .1
+15.9
+19.2
+ 6.4

Construction : Valuation of building permits issued in
Fifth district cities in November exceeded October valu­
ation, but was 11 per cent less than in November 1936.
There were 2,259 permits issued in 31 cities in Novem­
ber, compared with 2,681 permits in October 1937 and
2,853 permits in November 1936. Estimated valuation
figures for November totaling $6,155,316 compared with
$5,665,087 for October this year and $6,913,845 in No­
vember last year. Only 13 of the 31 cities reported higher
valuation figures for November this year than last.
Contract award figures for November, as compiled by
F. W. Dodge Corporation, show a decrease of 6.5 per
cent for the Fifth Reserve district in November in com­
parison with contracts awarded in November 1936.
Construction Contracts Awarded
STATES
Maryland ....................................
D of Col........................................
Virginia .......................................
West Virginia ...........................
North Carolina ...........................
South Carolina ...........................
District .....................................

Nov. 1937
$ 3,749,200
2,436,800
5,179,600
1,142,700
4,339,200
2,731,200
$19,578,700

Nov. 1936 % Change
$ 4,526,100
— 17.2
4,061,700
—40.0
3,539,800
+46.3
1,364,000
— 16.2
5,073,000
— 14.5
2,366,000
+15.4
$20,930,600
— 6.5

Coal M in in g : Bituminous coal production in Novem­
ber totaling 35,300,000 net tons showed an unseasonal
decrease of 13.2 per cent from 40,675,000 tons dug in
October, and was also 15.7 per cent below production of
41,879,000 tons in November last year. Lessened demand
for coal in industrial plants and uncertainty as to rules
and regulations to be announced by the Bituminous Coal
Commission account for the decrease last month. Hamp­
ton Roads ports shipped 20,196,985 tons between January
1 and December 11, compared with 18,452,292 tons
shipped in the same period last year. Official figures by
states for October production this year and last are now
available from reports of the National Bituminous Coal
Commission:




Soft Coal Production in Tons
Oct. 1937

STATES
West Virginia .......................
Virginia ...................
Maryland ...............................
5th District .........................
United States .....................

Oct. 1936

Percentage
Change

10,645,000
1,388,000
142,000
12,175,000
40,722,000

11,528,000
1,213,000
150,000
12,891,000
43,321,000

— 7.7
+14.4
— 5.3
— 5.6
— 6.0

Cotton T extiles : Cotton textile mills in the Fifth dis­
trict restricted operations further in November as inven­
tories continued burdensome. In the face of large stocks
in the hands of dry goods jobbers, the mills received few
forward orders and many orders previously placed were
cancelled. However, in the second and third weeks of
December sales of unfinished cloth increased and were
substantially larger than curtailed mill output. Buying
covered a wide range of fabrics and included purchases
by industrial users as well as by manufacturers of clothing
and household textiles. Reduced inventories of finishers
and other users or processors of unfinished cloth were
said to account for the increased volume of sales. Cloth
prices apparently advanced more than cotton prices,
giving mills a slightly wider margin. Consumption of
cotton by states in the Fifth district in November 1937,
October 1937, and November 1936, in bales, is shown
below:
MONTHS

No. Carolina So. Carolina Virginia

District

1937.........................
1937.........................
1936.........................

122,039
130,789
162,092

108,487
110,507
119,761

13,024
14,629
12,833

243,550
255,925
294,686

11 Months, 1937.........................
11 Months, 1936.......................

1,760,511
1,655,752

1,379,552
1,241,999

164,309
152,148

3,304,372
3,049,899

November
October
November

Figures on spindle activity in October were released
by the Bureau of the Census on November 20. There
were 26,757,298 spindles in place in American mills on
October 31, of which Fifth district mills had 12,345,270
spindles. Actual spindle hours of operation in October
totaled 6,927,893,432 hours in the United States, South
Carolina ranking first with 1,950,716,153 hours and North
Carolina second with 1,578,785,028 hours. After trail­
ing Tennessee in September, South Carolina again took
first place in October with 344 hours of operation per
spindle in place, and Virginia with 343 hours ranked sec­
ond. North Carolina was eighth with 261 hours, and all
Fifth district states exceeded the National average of 259
hours.
R ayon :

Rayon manufacturers and converters are both
heavily over-stocked, but there are indications that the
situation is gradually being corrected. Shipments of
rayon yarns to mills decreased about 10 per cent from
October to November. The Rayon Organon index of rayon
shipments in November was 252 per cent of the 1923-25
average against 366 per cent in October and 714 per cent
in November a year ago. The number of month’s supply
of yarn on hand rose from 0.4 in November 1936 and 1.1
in October 1937 to 1.8 at the end of November this year.
Weekly data recently collected by the National Rayon
Weavers Association shows a typical, over-all November
weaving rate of about 40 per cent of peak capacity for
the month. The low production rate in rayon weaving is
reducing cloth inventories and yarn stocks at weaving
mills, and any material increase in cloth production would
immediately be reflected in yarn sales by the rayon pro­
ducers.

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

Cotton : Spot cotton prices on ten Southern markets
fluctuated through a range of about half a cent per pound
during the past month, showing a moderate rising ten­
dency, and on December 17 averaged 8.22 cents for mid­
dling grade in comparison with 7.74 cents on November
19. Growers continued to withhold much cotton from
the market, and the Commodity Credit Corporation re­
ported that 3,820,000 bales of the 1937 crop had been
pledged on Government loans prior to December 16. On
December 8 the Department of Agriculture issued the
final estimate on the 1937 cotton crop, 18,746,000 bales,
the largest crop on record and 51.2 per cent above the
1936 yield of 12,399,000 bales. Yield figures for the
three Fifth district cotton growing states were raised last
month, and latest estimates give South Carolina 1,025,000
bales against 816,000 bales last year, North Carolina
775.000 bales against 597,000 bales, and Virginia 41,000
bales against 33,000 bales, a district total of 1,841,000
bales, or an increase of 27.3 per cent, in comparison with
1.446.000 bales picked in the Fifth district in 1936.
Cotton Consumed and On Hand
(Bales)
Nov.
Nov.
1936
1937
Fifth district states:
Cotton consumed ...................
243,550
294,686
Cotton growing states:
Cotton consumed ...................
418,395
526,612
Cotton on hatnd Nov. 30 in
Consuming establishments . . 1,408,1401,584,285
Storage & compresses . . . . . 11,476,3748,325,595
United States:
484,819
625,794
Cotton consumed ...................
Cotton on hand Nov. 30 in
Consuming establishments . . 1,656,1091,800,597
Storage & compresses . . . . . 11,549,4488,386,166
796,985
689,815
Exports of cotton .......................

Aug. 1 to Nov. 30
This Year Last Year
1,086,595

1,167,627

1,885,479

..................................
.................................
2,217,500

2,481,661

.................................
.................................
2,433,765 2,302,942

South Carolina tobacco markets
sold no tobacco in November, the season having closed in
October. Season sales totaled 101,352,469 pounds for
producers this year, at an average price of $20.83 per
hundred pounds, compared with 69,841,461 pounds sold
for $19.89 per hundred in 1936. North Carolina and
Virginia sales figures last month and in November 1936
were as follows:

Producers’ Tobacco Sales, Pounds
Nov. 1936
Nov. 1937
74,626,112
89,221,026
North Carolina.............
29,468,662
29,575,265
Virginia (Flue-cured)..
1,658,676
796,852
(Fire-cured)..




Nov. 1937
Smoking & Chewing
Tobacco, Pounds .............
Cigarettes, Number ...............
Cigars, Number ....................<
Snuff, Pounds ......................... .

R etail T rade

in

% Change

23,576,496
11,557,116,290
489,179,709
3,034,777

+

.9

+ 10.6
+ .7
+ 6.0

D epartment Stores :

Net Sales
Nov. 1937
comp, with
November
1936
+ 9.1
Richmond ( 3 ) ...
Baltimore (8)
+ 1.1
— 1.2
Washington (6)
Other Cities (14)
+ 4.0
District (29 )..
+ .5
Same stores by
States, with 28
stores added:
Virginia (1 3 )...
West. Va. (9 )..
No. Carolina (7)
So. Carolina (9)
District (57)..

Nov. 1936

23,797,206
12,786,229,523
492,686,008
3,216,535

+ 8.0
— 7.2
— 6.5
— 4.6
+ .4

Stocks
Net Sales
Nov. 30, 1937
Jan. 1 to date
compared with compared with
same period Nov. 30 Oct. 31
1937
1936
last year
+ 6.6
+ 11.4
+ 6.8
+ *9
+ 2.8
+ 3.3
.6
+ »2
+
+ 4.1
+ 6.2
+ 7.6
+ 2.5
+ 3.6
+ 2.6

Ratio Nov.
collections
to accounts
outstanding
November 1
33.5
82.7
27.7
31.8
30.0

[-7.7
-8.9
K6.0
+ 9.9
+ 4.2

2,079,928

T obacco M arketing :

STATES

The Bureau of Internal
Revenue reports tobacco products manufactured in No­
vember 1937 and 1936 as follows:

T obacco M anufacturing :

Price Per Hundred
1936
1937
$22.40
$23.25
23.91
23.46
11.22
9.71

W holesale T rade, 59 F irm s :
Stocks
Net Sales
Net Sales
Nov. 30, 1937
Jan. 1 to date
Nov. 1937
comp, with compared with compared with
Nov.
Oct.
same period Nov. 30 Oct. 31
1936
1937
last year
1936
1937
— 3.3 — 12.3
+ 9.5
Groceries (21). + 3.1 — 6.0
+ 57.2 — 9.8
Dry Goods (7) — 17.9 — 12.0
+ -1
+ 13.9 — 12.1
+ 4.6
Shoes (6 )........ — 31.4 —51.4
+ 8.0 — 1.7
+ 17.3
Hardware (1 2 ).— 6.7 — 15.7
+ 8.5
+ 6.9 — 4.8
Drugs (1 3 )... + 4.6 + 4.2
l in e s

Ratio Nov.
collections
to accounts
outstanding
November 1
114.7
43.3
58.5
46.5

71.4

Note: All figures in Retail and Wholesale tables represent percentage
changes except the collection ratios. Number of reporting firms shown in
parentheses.

A G R IC U LT U R A L CONDITIONS
In the January 31, 1938, issue of the Monthly Review
we shall publish a table showing 1937 crop yields and
money values for the several states in the Fifth Federal
Reserve district, in comparison with corresponding fig­
ures for some earlier periods.

(Compiled December 21, 1937)

MONTHLY REVIEW, December 31, 1937

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

SUMMARY OF NATIONAL BUSINESS CONDITIONS
(Compiled by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)
IN DU STRIAL PRODUCTION

In November, volume of industrial production continued to decline sharply,
and employment and payrolls also decreased. During the first half of Novem­
ber commodity prices declined further but for the past month they have been
steady.
PRODUCTION AND EMPLOYMENT

Index of physical volume of production, ad­
justed for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average
=100. By mdnths, January 1929 to November
1937.

FACTORY EMPLOYMENT AND PAYROLLS

Indexes of number employed and payrolls, with­
out adjustment for seasonal variation, 1923-1925
=100. By months, January 1929 to November
1937. Indexes compiled by the U. S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics.

W HOLESALE P R IC E S

Volume of industrial output, as measured by the Board’s seasonally ad­
justed index, declined from 103 percent of the 1923-1925 average in October
to 90 percent in November, reflecting chiefly a sharp reduction in the manufac­
ture of durable goods. There was a further curtailment of activity at steel
mills and output for the month was at a rate of 38 percent of capacity, a de­
cline of one-third from October. In the first three weeks of December steel
production was at about 28 percent of capacity. Output of lumber and plate
glass also declined substantially in November, and automobile production showed
considerably less than the usual seasonal increase. Production of nondurable
goods, which had decreased by a substantial amount earlier this year, declined
further in November, reflecting a continued reduction in output of textiles
and shoes, partly offset in the total by an increase in activity at sugar refineries.
Output of minerals, as well as manufactures, declined in November. There
were marked decreases in output of bituminous coal and in iron ore shipments,
while crude petroleum production continued in large volume.
Total value of construction contracts awarded, as reported by the F. W.
Dodge Corporation, showed little change in November and the first half of
December. Awards for privately-financed projects declined, reflecting chiefly
a further reduction in residential building, while contracts for publicly-financed
work increased.
Employment and payrolls at factories showed an unusually sharp decline
between the middle of October and the middle of November, and there were
decreases also in the number employed in trade and other nonmanufacturing
lines. The Board’s seasonally adjusted index of factory employment was at
94 percent of the 1923-1925 average in November as compared with a level
of 102 last summer and 96 in November last year. In the steel, machinery,
lumber, and textile industries the number employed decreased by substantially
more than the usual seasonal amount, and there was some decline at automobile
factories, although an increase is usual at this season. There were declines
also in the seasonally adjusted indexes for most other lines, except foods and
tobacco which showed little change.
AGRICULTURE

Department of Agriculture estimates recently issued indicate that most
crops will be about the same size as forecast earlier but that cash farm income
will be lower than had been anticipated, largely because of price declines both
for crops and livestock. Cash income in 1937 is expected to be $8,500,000,000,
as compared with $7,918,000,000 in 1936. The increase over a year ago is
due primarily to increased income from marketings of wheat, tobacco, and
fruits and to larger Government payments.
DISTRIBUTION

Index compiled by the U. S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics, 1926=100. By months, 1929 to 1931;
by weeks, 1932 to date. Latest figure is for week
ending December 18, 1937.

M EM BE R BAN K CREDIT

Distribution of commodities to consumers, which earlier had been main­
tained, declined slightly in November. There was a slight decline in sales at
department stores, and mail order sales decreased considerably, while sales at
variety stores showed little change. Preliminary information for the first half
of December indicates that department store sales increased by approximately
the usual seasonal amount.
Freight-car loadings declined by considerably more than the seasonal
amount in November and the Board’ s adjusted index for that month was 71
percent of the 1923-1925 average as compared with 76 percent in October and
an average of 81 percent in the first half of the year. The decline from Oc­
tober to November reflected principally marked decreases in loadings of coal
and miscellaneous freight.
COMMODITY PRICES

The general level of wholesale commodity prices, which had declined
sharply from the latter part of September to the third week of November, has
shown little change since that time. Prices of nonferrous metals, leather, wool,
textile yarns, and finished cotton goods have declined somewhat further in
this period, while steel scrap, hides, rubber, cotton, print cloths, and bituminous
coal have recently shown some advance.
BANK CREDIT

Wednesday figures for reporting member banks
in 101 leading cities.
September 5, 1934, to
December 15, 1937.




Excess reserves of member banks showed a small decline but for the first
three weeks of December remained somewhat over $1,000,000,000. The in­
crease in demand for currency during December has been smaller than usual,
reflecting largely the effects of the recent sharp decline in business activity
and payrolls.
Total loans and investments of reporting member banks in 101 leading
cities increased somewhat during the four weeks ending December 15, reflect­
ing a growth of $190,000,000 in holdings of United States Government obli­
gations, mostly in New York City. A factor in this increase was the purchase
by banks of the December 15 issues of Government securities. Commercial
loans, which had begun to decline in October, showed a further reduction.