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MONTHLY

REVIEW

o f Financial and Business Conditions

F ifth
Federal

,

Reserve
D is tr ic t

,

Federal Reserve Bank Richmond Va.

December 31, 1939

Summary of November Business Conditions
R A D E and industry in the Fifth Federal Reserve
district were both quite active in November, and
practically all figures were better than November 1938
figures. A number o f indicators showed some recessions
from October levels, but these were seasonal develop­
ments in nearly all instances.
Debits to individual accounts in 25 cities, reflecting
transactions through the banks, were 10 per cent above
November 1938 debits, every city showing an increase
for the first time in over two years. Loans and invest­
ments in reporting member banks both increased during
November and were higher than a year ago. Demand
deposits also registered gains for the month and the
year.

operations at high levels and consumed more cotton than
in any other month on record except March 1937. Rayon
mills operated at capacity, but shipments again exceeded
production for the seventh consecutive month, and re­
serve stocks o f yarn fell to about a week’s supply. Coal
production, while declining slightly from the unusually
high October level, exceeded November 1938 output by
19 per cent. Tobacco manufacturing was off in certain
lines, but in cigarettes, o f which the Fifth district makes
approximately 80 per cent, there was a gain o f 7 per cent.

T

E M P L O Y M E N T CO N TIN U ES U PW A RD

Employment rose during November and the first half
o f December, seasonal additions to retail sales forces
more than offsetting some decline in outside work. In­
dustrial employment on the whole was about the same
as in October, but was substantially better than in the
final months o f 1938.
Construction provided for in November permits issued
and contracts awarded was less than in October, probably
due to seasonal influences. Permits exceeded those for
November 1938 by 33 per cent, but contract awards last
month were 35 per cent less than a year ago. The de­
cline in contracts reflects a reduced volume o f publicly
financed projects.

R E T A IL A N D W H O LE SA LE SALES L A R G E

In distributive lines, November’s record was substan­
tially better than that o f November 1938. Department
store sales showed an increase o f 11 per cent, retail
furniture sales rose 17 per cent, and wholesale trade
showed an average gain o f 16 per cent in about a dozen
lines. Sales o f new passenger automobiles in November
exceeded November 1938 sales by 11 per cent, in spite
o f the absence of one leading manufacturer from the
market.
Industrial advances made in September and October
were held in November. Cotton textile mills continued
BUSINESS

Debits to individual accounts (25 cities).......
Sales, 31 department stores, 5th district.........
Sales, 36 furniture stores, 5th district...........
Sales, 178 wholesale firms, 5th district...........
Registrations, new autos, 5th district.............
Tobacco sold in 5th district (P ou n ds)...........
Growers’ receipts from tobacco, 5th district..
Average price of tobacco, per 100 pounds.......
Number o f business failures, 5th district.....
Liabilities in failures, 5th district...................
Value of building permits, 31 cities.................
Value o f contracts awarded, 5th district.......
Cotton consumption, 5th district (B ales).....
Cotton price, cents per lb., end of month.........
Print cloths, 38^2 in., 64x60s, end of month....
Rayon yarn shipments, U. S. (Pounds).......
Rayon yarn stocks, U. S. (P ou nds)...............
Bituminous coal mined, U. S. (T o n s )...........




STATISTICS— FIFTH FEDERAL

RESERVE

November 1939
$1,351,579,000
$ 11,391,091
1,316,057
$
$ 10,724,000
17,380
260,664,844
44,258,844
16.98
30
289,000
$
8,947,654
$
$ 24,056,000
341,096
9.92
5.13
32,900,000
7,500,000
42,835,000

$
$

DISTRICT

October 1939
$1,412,426,000
$ 11,330,531
1,462,045
$
$ 11,450,000
15,260
305,771,128
48,240,022
15.78
47
750,000
$
$ 14,032,486

$
$

$

28,276,000
320,999
9.09
5.50
34,100,000
9,400,000
45,950,000

80,196,905
16,640,044
20.75
51
320,000
6,729,179

% Change
Month
Year
— 4
+ 10
+
1
+ 11
— 10
4- 17
— 6
+ 16
+ 14
+ 11
— 15
+225
— 8
+166
— 18
+ 8
— 36
— 41
— 61
— 10
— 36
+ 33

36,928,000
287,585
8.47
4.50
21,700,000
40,000,000
35,925,000

— 15
+ 6
+ 9
— 7
— 4
— 20
— 7

November 1938
$1,233,406,000
$ 10,248,481
$
1,127,845
9,251,000
$
15,638
$
$
$
$
$

—
+
+
+
+
—
+

35
19
17
14
52
81
19

MONTHLY REVIEW

2

GOVERNMENT SECURITY HOLDINGS FURTHER
REDUCED
The Reserve System further reduced Government se­
curity holdings between November 15 and December 15,
and accordingly holdings at the Richmond bank declined
by $5,158,000. Circulation of Federal Reserve notes, on
the contrary, rose by $5,170,000 during the same period,
a seasonal increase, and cash reserves also increased mod­
erately. Member bank reserve deposits were practically
the same at mid-December as a month earlier.
RESERVE BANK STATEMENT ITEMS
Fifth District
ITEMS
Discounts held ...............................................
Foreign loans on gold..................................
Open market paper......................................
Industrial advances ....................................
Fovernm^nt securities ................................
Total earning assets................................
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes.................
Members’ reserve deposits.........................
Cash reserves .................................... ............
Reserve ratio .................................................

000 omitted
Dec. 15
Nov. 15
Dec. 15
1939
1939
1938
$
109
$
256
$
157
208
142
0
0
0
24
950
1,007
1,485
129,904______135,062______120,321
$131,171
$136,467
$121,987
230,718
225,548
209,172
279,816
279,791
223,376
426,704
417,333
376,240
76.58
75.94
76.59

LOANS AND INVESTMENTS RISE

SELECTED ITEMS— 41 REPORTING BANKS
Fifth District

Loans and discounts....................................
Investments in securities............................
Reserve bal. with F. R. bank.................
Cash in vaults ..............................................
Demand deposits ..........................................
Time deposits........................................ . . . .
Money borrowed ..........................................

Dec. 13
1939

000 omitted
Nov. 15
1939

$264,576
449,111
192,636
24,813
540,913
196,702
0

$260,721
437,513
185,381
20,406
535,113
201,392
0

STATES
Maryland ...............
Dist. of Columbia.
Virginia .................
West Virginia . . .
North Carolina . .
South Carolina . . .

1.5
0.4
0.4
3.8
1.2
3.0

+
+
+
+
+
+

+
+
+
+
+
+

1.3
0.3
1.5
69
21
6.0

DEBITS SHOW SE A SO N AL D ECLIN E

Debits to individual accounts in November were 4 per
cent below October, but exceeded those for November
1938 by 10 per cent. November debits are usually smaller
than those in October, partly because October is a longer
month and partly because many quarterly payments also
are made. In comparison with November 1938 figures,
every reporting city showed higher figures for November
1939, the first time all cities increased since April 1937.
DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS
Fifth District
000 omitted
Oct.
Nov.
1939
1938

Nov.
1939

of Change
Month
Year

%

Maryland
Baltimore .............
Cumberland .........
Hagerstown .........

$ 354,795
8,509
8,541

$ 386,664
8,859
9,571

$ 319,818
7,356
8,203

263,313

277,873

257,738

- 5

19,735
15,121
11,600
52,022
4,578
186,398
28,182

14,484
14,767
11,985
52,433
4,188
187,297
27,452

15,734
14,273
9,020
47,739
4,246
165,934
25,856

+ 36
+ 2
— 3
— 1
+ 9
0
+ 3

+ 25
+ 6
+ 29
+ 9
+ 8
+ 12
+ 9

52,200
18,024
9,480

50,880
18,902
10,794

46,024
16,302
9,304

4- 3
— 5
— 12

+ 13
+ 11
+ 2

11,855
66,978
40,469
22,802
43,386
10,997
45,559

13,006
71,940
44,114
19,879
45,851
11,571
45,857

11,670
55,111
36,482
18,091
40,951
10,258
43,596

— 9
— 7
— 8
+ 15
— 5
— 5
— 1

+ 2
+ 22
+ 11
+ 26
+ 6
+ 7
+ 5

17,760
28,338
19,711
11,226
$1,351,579

22,662
26,277
22,104
13,016
$1,412,426

16,458
25,354
18,392
9,496
$1,233,406

— 22
+ 8
— 11
— 14
— 4

+

- 8
— 4
— 11

+ 11
+ 16
+ 4

Dist. of Col.
Washington

+

2

Virginia
Danville ................
Lynchburg ...........
Newport Ne ws . . . .
Norfolk
...............
Portsmouth .........
Richmond ............
Roanoke ...............

West Virginia
Dec. 14
1938
$242,824
426,905
149,180
21,492
476,614
195,305
0

MUTUAL SAVINGS DECLINE SEASONALLY
In keeping with seasonal trend, deposits in 10 mutual
savings banks in Baltimore declined last month from
$220,944,398 on October 31 to $220,910,601 on Novem­
ber 30, but on the later date were above deposits totaling
$218,613,489 on November 30, 1938.
EMPLOYMENT CONTINUES UPWARD
The number of workers employed in the Fifth dis­
trict increased in late November and the first half of
December, but most of the increase was a temporary
seasonal one caused by additions to employees in retail
outlets to handle the holiday trade. Many stores carry­
ing holiday goods practically double their workers in
December, and this year these additions more than offset
some seasonal decline in workers engaged on outside
projects. Industrial plants in November either increased
operations further or held at recent levels, and coal min­
ing on a daily basis was at approximately the high rate
of October. The following figures, compiled for the
most part by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, show the




Percentage change from
Oct. 1939 to Nov. 1939
in amount
in number
on payroll
of payroll

CITIES

At 41 regularly reporting member banks in 12 Fifth
district cities, both loans and investments rose between
November 15 and December 13, and there was also a
seasonal increase in cash in vaults. Demand deposits
rose during the period, but time deposits declined. Time
deposits usually decline somewhat during the holiday
shopping season.

ITEMS

trends o f employment and payrolls in the Fifth district
from October to N ovem ber:

Charleston ...........
Huntington .........
Parkersburg .........

North Carolina
Asheville ..............
Charlotte ..............
Durham .................
Greensboro ...........
Raleigh . . . . . . . . .
Wilmington .........
Winston-Salem . .

South Carolina
Charleston ...........
Columbia
Greenville ............
Spartanburg
District Totals . .

INSOLVEN CIES

AN D

LIAB ILITIES

8

+ 12
+ .7
+18
+ 10

DECLIN E

Commercial failures in the Fifth district and the United
States were reported by Dun & Bradstreet as follow s:
PERIODS

Number of Failures
District U . S.

Total Liabilities
District
U . S.

November 1939 .....................
October 1939 ..........................
November 1938 .....................

30
47
51

886
916
984

► 289,000
750.000
320.000

$ 11,877,000
16,140,000
12,302,000

11 Months, 1939................... ..
11 Months, 1938.....................

509
591

10,899
11,961

$5,817,000
7,118,000

$156,511,000
209,977,000

A U T O SALES CO N TIN U E TO RISE

Sales o f 1940 automobiles rose further in November,
in spite of the virtual absence o f one o f the leading manu­
facturers from the market. Registrations o f new pas­
senger cars in the Fifth district in November were 14
per cent above October registrations, and 11 per cent
higher than those in November 1938. New cars have

3

MONTHLY REVIEW
sold in such numbers that used cars traded in are be­
ginning to burden some dealers, although the market for
used cars has also been relatively good. The following
registration figures on new cars were furnished by R. L.
Polk & C o.:

tons in 1929 to the same date. Shipments o f coal through
Hampton Roads to December 9 totaled 18,620,595 tons
this year, 15,732,231 tons in 1938, and 20,898,452 tons
in 1929.
C O TTO N TE X TILE S A C T IV E

REGISTRATION OF N E W PASSENGER CARS— NUMBER
Nov.
1939

STATES
Maryland ...........
Dist. of Col. . . .
Virginia .............
West Virginia . .
No. Carolina . . .
So. Carolina . . .
District ...........

3,627
2,109
3,677
2,056
3,394
2,517
17,380

Nov.
1938
3,102
2,123
2,985
1,739
3,586
2,103
15,638

%
Change
+
+
+
+
+

17
1
23
18
5
20
11

11 Months 11 Months
%
1939
1938
Change
35,693
23,521
38,342
20,808
40,714
23,005
182,083

+
+
+
+
+
+
+

23,904
15,801
27,438
14,726
28,155
13,755
123,779

49
49
40
41
45
67
47

BOTH PERM ITS A N D C O N TR A C TS DECREASE

The value of building permits issued in 31 Fifth dis­
trict cities in November 1939 totaled $8,947,654, a de­
crease of 36 per cent under the unusually high total of
$14,032,486 in October this year but an increase o f 33
per cent over $6,729,179 in November 1938. Washington
reported the highest figure last month, $3,347,440; Balti­
more was second with $1,428,780; Charleston, W . Va.,
third with $1,200,161; Columbia fourth with $791,105;
and Richmond fifth with $204,069. Permits issued in
the first 11 months of 1939 totaling $114,216,748 show
an increase of 42 per cent over permits totaling $80,222,225 issued in the first 11 months o f 1938.
Contracts actually awarded for construction work in
the district in November totaled $24,056,000. This rep­
resents a decline o f 15 per cent from contracts totaling
$28,276,000 awarded in October, and a drop o f 35 per
cent from $36,928,000 in November 1938. A consider­
able part o f the decrease from last year is due to a de­
cline in publicly financed projects, residential and indus­
trial work having held up better. Total contracts awarded
in the first 11 months o f this year amounted to $355,113,000, an increase o f 23.5 per cent over $287,491,000
in awards in the corresponding period last year. Awards
this year are higher than for any other year since 1929.
Figures collected by the F. W . Dodge Corporation by
states for November 1939 and 1938 on construction con­
tracts awarded are as follow s:
CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS AW ARDED
STATES

Nov. 1939

Maryland ..........................................
$ 6,000.000
Dist. of Col........................................
2,948,000
Virginia ............................................
5,279,000
West Virginia ................. ..............
1,357,000*
North Carolina .............................
5,475,000
South Carolina .............................
3,180,000
Fifth District ...........................
$24,239,000
* Includes some contracts outside 5th district.

COAL

PRO D U CTIO N

Nov. 1938

% Change

$ 7,325,000
—
5,651,000
—
7,619,000
—
2,835,000*
—
8,404,000
—
5,509,000
—
$37,343,000_______ —

DECLIN ES

18
48
31
52
35
42
35

SL IG H TLY

Bituminous coal mined in November totaled 42,835,000
net tons, a decrease of 6.8 per cent below the high Octo­
ber output of 45,950,000 tons, but 19.2 per cent above
35,925,000 tons mined in November last year. On a
daily basis, output o f 1,741,000 tons in November 1939
was only 1.5 per cent below daily production o f 1,767,000
tons in October this year. Total output of bituminous
coal this calendar year to December 9 o f 361,897,000 tons
compares with 317,966,000 tons in 1938 and 501,610,000




The cotton textile industry was very active in Novem ­
ber, and continued at approximately the same high rate
in the first half o f December. Sales in November slacked
to some extent, but in December unfinished cloth and
yarn sales increased sharply and substantially exceeded
the large mill output. A fter declining somewhat in N o­
vember, cloth prices in December advanced with rising
cotton prices. Consumption o f cotton in November in
the Fifth district exceeded consumption in any other
November, and was the second highest figure for any
month on record. Cotton consumption figures in bales
in Fifth district states in November 1939, October 1939,
November 1938, and in the first 11 months o f this year
and last are shown herewith:
COTTON

CONSUMPTION— FIFTH DISTRICT
In Bales
MONTHS
No. Carolina So. Carolina Virginia
191,192
136,222
13,682
November 1939 ...................
October 1939 .......................
181,068
126,700
13,231
November 1938 .................
156,212
118,756
12,617
11 Months, 1939 .................
11 Months, 1938 .................

RAYON

1,768,660
1,397,379

SHIPMENTS A G A IN

1,308,616
1,083,755

132,683
128,146

District
341,096
320,999
287,585
3,209,969
2,609,280

EXCEED PRO D U CTIO N

Shipments o f rayon filament yarn to domestic con­
sumers in November were slightly smaller than October
shipments, but continued much larger than a year ago,
and also exceeded production for the seventh consecu­
tive month. Shipments in November totaled 32,900,000
pounds, according to the December Rayon Organon, com­
pared with 34,100,000 pounds shipped in October 1939
and 21,700,000 pounds in November 1938. In the first
11 months o f 1939 shipments o f rayon yarn totaled 325,300.000 pounds, an increase o f 31 per cent over 247,900,000 pounds shipped in the corresponding period last year.
Excess o f shipments over production in November re­
duced reserve stocks from 9,400,000 pounds to 7,500,000
pounds during the month. On November 30, 1938, re­
serve stocks totaled 40,000,000 pounds, and were up to
43.400.000 pounds as late as April 30, 1939. Further
price increases were made as o f December 1 by several
producers making 50 and 75 denier viscose process yarn.
C O TTO N PRICES A T T W O -Y E A R HIG H

Spot cotton prices on Southern markets, which had
advanced sharply between the middle o f October and the
middle o f November, rose further after that period to an
average o f 10.92 cents per pound for middling grade on
December 15, the latest date for which official figures are
available. This price is the highest Friday average since
August 6 , 1937, and compares with 9.51 cents a month
earlier and 8.36 cents a year ago.
The Department o f Agriculture's December cotton
crop report lowered the estimate from 11,845,000 bales
on November 1 to 11,792,000 bales on December 1. In
the Fifth district, South Carolina’s estimate declined from

MONTHLY REVIEW

4

895,000 bales to 870,000 bales during November, and
North Carolina’s prospects dropped from 475,000 bales
to 455,000 bales. Virginia was unchanged with 12,000
bales.
COTTON CONSUMPTION AND ON HAND

TOBACCO PRODUCTS MANUFACTURED
Nov. 1939
Smoking & chewing
tobacco, P ou nd s.................
Cigarettes, Number .................
Cigars, Number .....................
Snuff, Pounds ............................

Nov. 1988

25,192,803
14,461,358,957
505,098,447
3,242,896

27,747,016
13,505,602,337
515,858,670
3,193,290

% Change

—9
7
—2
+ 2
+

(Bales)
Nov.
1939
Fifth district states:
Cotton consumed .

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

Nov.
1938

341,096

287,585

Cotton growing states:
Cotton consumed ...................
609,862
503,514
Cotton on hand Nov. 30 in
Consuming establishments . . 1,561,499 1,514,193
Storage & compresses ........... 15,447,107 15,538,740
United States:
Cotton consumed .......................
718,721
596,416
Cotton on hand Nov. 30 in
Consuming establishments . .
1,782,949 1,714,312
Storage & compresses ........... 15,484,508 15,591,629
Exports of cotton .........................

583,644

480,384

Aug. 1 to Nov. 30
This Year Last Year
1,259,106

1,890,724

2,659,007

2,233,081

................................
...........
...........
2,337,825

Spindles active, U. S....................... 22,774,170 22,447,106

1,534,324

.........

...........

TO B A C C O SALES A B O V E SEASON AL LEV EL

The tobacco markets being closed from early in Sep­
tember until October 10 threw sales later in the season,
and November sales in the Fifth district totaled 260,664,844 pounds compared with only 80,196,905 pounds sold
in November last year. The average price o f $16.98 per
hundred pounds last month was 7.6 per cent better than
the October average o f $15.78, but was 18.2 per cent
below the November 1938 average of $20.75. Total
sales this season to November 30 in the district amounted
to 904,280,911 pounds, at an average of $15.78 per hun­
dred, compared with 651,201,439 pounds sold for $22.96
per hundred before November 30, 1938. The total re­
ceived by growers for this year’s crop prior to Decem­
ber 1 was $142,667,000, compared with $149,547,000 in
1938, both figures exclusive o f any special payments by
the Federal Government.
STATES
South Carolina .........
North Carolina .........
Virginia (Flu* cured)
(Fire cured)
District .....................
Season through . . .

Producers’ Tobacco Sales, Pounds
November 1939 November 1938
947,392
208,358,063
50,350,071
1,009,318
260,664,844
904,280,911

0
51,746,353
27,430,448
1,020,104
80,196,905
651,201,439

DEPARTMENT STORE TRADE

1,081,969

2,255,818

R E T A IL A N D W H O LE SA LE T R A D E

Price per Cwt.
1939
1938
$11.62
17.20
16.29
10.81
16.98
15.78

$
0
21.02
20.64
9.93
20.75
22.96

Net Sales
Nov. 1939
comp, with
November
1938
Richmond (3) . . .
Baltimore (8) . . .
Washington (6) .
Other Cities (14>
District (31) . .




+
+
+
+
+

+ 9.5
+ 1 4 .4
+ H *1

4.0
3.6
5.0
5.1
4.4

+
+
+

+-H*9

Same stores by states,
with 26 stores added:
Virginia (13) . . .
+ 1 2 .8
West Va. (10) . .
+ 1 3 .5
No. Carolina (8) .
4" 8.8
So. Carolina ( 12)
+ 1 2 .2

+ 6.3
+ 3.0
+ 8.5
+ 13.3
+ 6.7

Ratio Nov.
collections
to accounts
outstanding
Nov. 1

4.4
4.3
4.8

+ 5.1
+ 5.1
+ 7.7
+ 16.1
+ 7.3

35.0
33.6
30.3
30.9
32.0

+10.1

RETAIL FURNITURE SALES
% Change in Sales, November and 11 Months 1939

STATES

Compared with
Nov. 1938

Compared with
11 Months 1938

Maryland, 10 stores .........
Dist. of Col., 7 stores . . .
Virginia, 9 stores .............
North Carolina, 3 stores
South Carolina, 7 stores
District, 36 s to r e s .........

+ 19
+ 8
— 4
+ 48
+ 43
+ 17

+ 9
+ 6
+ 7
+ 19
+ 27
+ 10

Individual Cities:
Baltimore, 10 stores
Columbia, 3 stores ...........
Richmond, 4 stores ...........
Washington, 7 stores

+ 19
+ 56
— 15
+ 8

+
+
—
+

9
1
1
6

178 FIRMS
Net Sales
November 1939
compared with
Nov.
Oct.
1938
1939

LINES
Auto supplies (7) .........
Shoes (4) ..........................
Drugs (11) .......................
Dry Goods (8) .................
Electrical goods (7) . . . .
Groceries (56) .................
Hardware (19) ...............
Indus, supplies (12) . . .
Plumbing & heating (6)
Paper & products ( 7 ) . .
Tobacco & products (7).
Miscellaneous (34) .........
District Totals (178).

TO B A C C O M A N U F A C T U R IN G DECLIN ES

Production o f all types o f manufactured tobacco
clined in November from October, due chiefly to
shorter month. Figures for November this year and
were released by the Bureau of Internal Revenue as
lows :

+ 1 2 .5

Net Sales
Stocks
Jan. 1 to date Nov. 30, 1939
comp, with
comp, with
same period Nov.
Oct.
last years
1938
1939

+ 2
+ 24
4* 9
+ 16
+ 78
+ 6
+ 17
+ 31
+ 14
+ 17
+ 4
+ 10
+ 16

— 8
— 27
— 2
— 2
— 2
0
— 8
— 16
— 13
— 8
-|- 5
— 4
— 6

Stocks
Ratio Nov.
Nov. 30, 1939
collections
compared with
to accounts
Nov. 30 Oct. 31 outstanding
1938
1939
Nov. 1
0
+
+

5
2

+

6

0
+ 47

+ 12
+ 14
— 5
— 3

+ 17
+ 12

—
—
—
—
+
—

1
9
7
4
8
2
+ 1
— 2
— 2
— 3

+ *4
— 1

66
59
75
44
75
91
48
73
53
72
80
59
63

FIFTH D ISTR IC T CROPS

de­
the
last
fol­

In the January 31, 1940, issue o f the Monthly Review
we shall publish a table showing final 1939 crop yields
for the several states in the Fifth Federal Reserve dis­
trict, in comparison with corresponding figures for some
earlier periods.

(Compiled December 21, 1939)

MONTHLY REVIEW, December 31, 1939

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

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

F ollow ing’ a rapid rise a fter the outbreak o f the European w a r industrial
activity continued at a high level in Novem ber and the first h a lf o f Decem ber.
There w as a considerable increase in distribution o f com m odities to consum ers
while prices o f basic com m odities, w hich had been steady durng Novem ber, rose
som ewhat in the first tw o weeks o f Decem ber.

PRODUCTION

Index of physical volume of production, ad­
justed for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average
= 100.
By months, January 1934 to November

FR EIG H T-C A R LOADINGS

Index of total loadings of revenue freight, ad­
justed for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average
=100.
By months, January 1934 to November
19(39.

The B oa rd’s seasonally adjusted index o f industrial production advanced
from 121 to 124 per cent in N ovem ber, reflecting sustained activity at a period
o f the year when a decline is usual. Production o f durable goods, w hich had
advanced rapidly fo r several months, showed a fu rth er expansion. R ecord p ro­
duction o f steel ingots continued in Novem ber and w as follow ed by a less than
seasonal decline in the first h a lf o f Decem ber. Autom obile production increased
in N ovem ber, notw ithstanding the fa c t that plants o f one im portant com pany
remained closed pending settlement o f an industrial dispute. A fte r this w as
settled at the end o f Novem ber assemblies rose sharply. R etail sales o f new
autom obils w ere in large volum e in Novem ber and at the end o f the month deal­
ers’ stocks o f new cars apparently w ere sm aller than at the corresponding time
in other recent years. Lum ber production declined less than seasonally in
Novem ber but plate glass production, w hich had reached a high level in October,
showed a reduction.
Output o f nondurable goods continued at a high level in Novem ber. A t
cotton and w oolen mills a ctivity increased som ewhat fu rth er and w as close to
the record levels reached three years ago. R ayon production advanced to new
high levels but at silk m ills there w as a sharp decline follow in g substantial in­
creases earlier this fall. O utput o f flour and sugar declined fu rth er from the
levels reached in September while changes in activity at shoe fa ctories and
m eat-packing' establishments w ere la rgely seasonal in character.
Coal production in N ovem ber declined som ewhat from the high level reached
in October. Output o f crude petroleum increased fu rth er and iron ore ship­
ments continued in exceptionally la rge volum e until the G reat Lakes’ shipping •
season closed in the latter part o f the month.
Value o f construction contracts, as reported b y the F. W . D odge C orpora­
tion, increased in Novem ber follow in g a sharp decline in October. In both
months changes in total aw ards reflected prin cip ally fluctuations in the volum e
o f contracts fo r public construction. P rivate residential aw ards declined some­
what less than seasonally in November, w hile aw ards f o r other private projects
showed little change. Contracts fo r private w ork, both residential and nonresidential, w ere larger than a year ago, w hile those fo r public projects w ere
below the high level o f that time when contracts under the Public W orks A dm in­
istration program w ere being awarded in la rg e volum e.

DEPARTMENT STORE SALES AND STOCKS

EMPLOYMENT
F a ctory em ploym ent and pay rolls continued to increase in Novem ber, r e ­
flecting chiefly fu rther sharp advances in industries producin g steel, m achinery,
and other durable goods.

DISTRIBUTION

Indexes of value of sales and stocks, adjusted
for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average=100.
By months, January 1934 to November 1939.

In N ovem ber distribution o f com m odities to consum ers increased consider­
ably. The B oard’s seasonally adjusted index o f departm ent store sales, w hich
had been around 90 in the three preceding months, advanced to 94, a level about
the same as at the peak in 1937 w hen prices o f com m odities sold at departm ent
stores w ere generally som ewhat higher than at present.
F reigh t-car loadings showed less than the usual seasonal decrease from
October to November and the B oard’ s adjusted index increased from 80 to 82,
w hich w as only slightly under the recovery peak reached in the ea rly part o f
1937. Shipm ents o f ore and miscellaneous freig h t declined less than is usual
in Novem ber, while loadings o f coal decreased m ore than seasonally fro m the
relatively high October level.

COMMODITY PRICES
MONEY RATES IN NEW YORK C ITY

P rices o f both industrial m aterials and foodstu ffs advanced fro m the latter
part o f N ovem ber to the middle o f Decem ber. W heat and silk prices rose con ­
siderably and there were sm aller increases in cotton and hides. P rices o f steel
scrap and nonferrous metals, on the other hand, showed declines.

GOVERNMENT SECURITY MARKET
P rices o f United States T reasury bonds advanced sharply during the last
h a lf o f N ovem ber to a level not fa r below the all-tim e high point o f last June
and remained steady during the first h a lf o f December.

BANK CREDIT

For weeks ending January 6, 1934, to Decem­
ber 9, 1939.




T otal loans and investm ents at reportin g m em ber banks in 101 leadin g
cities rose substantially during N ovem ber and the first h a lf o f D ecem ber, re­
flecting la rgely purchases o f new United States Governm ent securities. Com ­
m ercial loans, w hich had been increasing since A ugust, continued to rise until
the third w eek in N ovem ber. D eposits increased fu rther.