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MONTHLY

REVIEW

BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

oisg^
W ILLIA M W. H O X T O N , C h a i r m a n a n d F e d e r a l R e s e r v e A g e n t

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

FEBRUARY 28, 1925

The spurt in trade which developed in December
led many people to expect a larger volume of busi­
ness in January than materialized, but a consider­
able part of the dullness was due to severe weather.
Retail trade suffered from an inability of shoppers
to reach the stores on many days, and the dollar
volume of business reported by 29 department stores
fell 2.7 per cent under sales made in January 1924
Wholesale trade in January in four of six reporting
lines fell below sales during the corresponding month
last year, and one of the increases reported in sales
was probably due to higher prices this year rather
than to a larger volume of units of merchandise
sold. Debits to individual accounts were less in
amount than during the preceding month, but ex­
ceeded the total for January 1924. The increase,
however, was less than the increase in the Depart­
ment of Labor’s wholesale price index. Business
failures increased over those of December, a regular
seasonal development, but they also exceeded those
reported in January 1924 in both number and li­
abilities. Fewer building permits for new work
were issued in January than in either December or
January last year. Unemployment is probably more
marked than seasonal causes alone justify. Agri­
cultural work has been delayed by unfavorable
weather.

Turning to the other side of the picture, and ex­
amining some other underlying indices of business,
favorable factors show up strongly. The extremely
severe weather in January adversely influenced a
number of the business indicators mentioned in the
preceding paragraph, but perhaps served merely to
postpone trade. A large volume of construction
work seems reasonably assured for the coming
spring and summer, and this work will afford em­
ployment for those now involuntarily idle. Stocks
of goods in both retail and wholesale houses are
low, and if retail trade holds up to present levels
a considerable volume of buying will have to be
done. Both demand and time deposits in member
banks are higher than a year ago, evidencing the
large purchasing power of the public. Most of the
crops of the District in 1924, while below the 1923
yields, turned out better than had been expected
during the growing season and agricultural products
have brought profitable prices this year, with the
possible exception of cotton. The banks of the
District are in a strong position and are prepared to
meet any legitimate demands that appear likely to
be made upon them. Taking the District as a whole,
basic conditions appear to be sound, and there are no
serious obstacles in the way of a satisfactory volume
of business in sight at this time.

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OPERATIONS
The volume of member bank rediscounts held by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond continued
to decline during the past month, dropping from $25,484,000 on January 15th to $22,896,000 on February
14th. Between the same dates a seasonal reduction in the volume of Federal Reserve Notes in actual cir­
culation decreased the total outstanding from $79,683,000 to $76,984,000. Total reserve deposits of mem­
ber banks held by this bank dropped from $65,586,000 to $64,255,000, and a decline from $123,222,000 to
$121,272,000 took place in the Reserve Bank's cash reserves, both changes probably being only daily fluc­
tuations. As a result of the several changes mentioned, the ratio of cash reserves to combined note and de­
posit liabilities rose from 83.03 per cent on January 15th to 84.05 per cent on February 14th.
A year ago, on February 15th, 1924, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond held member bank paper
amounting to $45,942,000, a little more than twice the $22,896,000 held on February 14, 1925. Federal
Reserve Notes in actual circulation in the middle of February last year totaled $89,228,000, compared with
$76,984,000 this year. Reserve deposits of member banks rose from $62,105,000 on February 15, 1924, to
$64,255,000 on February 14, 1925. The cash reserves of this bank increased from $108,896,000 to $121,272,000 during the year, and the ratio of cash reserves to combined note and deposit liabilities increased from
70.75 per cent to 84.05 per cent.




The National Summary will be found on page 8

CONDITION OF SEVENTY-FOUR REPORTING MEMBER BANKS IN SELECTED CITIES
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

ITEMS
Total Loans and Discounts (including
all rediscounts).......................................
Total Investments in Bonds and Securi­
ties ............................................................
Total Loans and Investments...................
Reserve Balance with Federal Reserve
Bank.........................................................
Cash in Vaults.............................................
Demand Deposits.........................................
Time Deposits.............................................
Borrowed from Federal Reserve Bank....

Feb. 11, 1925

Jan. 7, 1925

Feb. 13, 1924

$ 484,095,000
132.750.000
616.845.000
39.156.000
13.659.000
376.939.000
186.733.000
7,843,000

$ 479,960,000
134.469.000
614.429.000
39.574.000
15.461.000
364.201.000
181.578.000
13.250.000

$ 466,230,000
125.287.000
591.517.000
37.289.000
13.342.000
346.456.000
158.551.000
24.989.000

The principal items of condition reported by seventy-four identical banks are shown in the accompany­
ing table, figures being given as of February n , 1925, January 7, 1925, and February 13, 1924. An oppor­
tunity is thus afforded for comparing the latest figures with those a month and a year earlier. The Jan­
uary 1925 figures were reported by seventy-five banks and the February 1924 figures by seventy-six
banks, but the reduction in number is due to mergers among the reporting banks and therefore the figures
are comparable.
During the month between January 7th and February nth, this year, total loans to and discounts for
customers increased from $479,960,000 to $484,095,000, while the total amount borrowed by the reporting
banks from the Reserve Bank declined from $13,250,000 to $7,843,000, a combined asset gain of $9,542,000.
This increase in outstanding loans and decrease in Reserve Bank borrowing was made possible in part by re­
ductions during the month in total investments in bonds and securities from $134,469,000 to $132,750,000; in
reserve balance with the Reserve Bank from $39,574,000 to $39,156,000; in cash in vaults from $15,461,000 to
$13,659,000; and by increases in demand deposits from $364,201,000 to $376,939,000 and in time deposits
from $181,578,000 to $186,733,000. All of the changes noted in the figures between January 7th and Feb­
ruary nth were seasonal in character and did not indicate any development of importance in banking cir­
cles.
Between February 13, 1924 and February n , 1925, total loans to customers made by the reporting
banks increased from $466,230,000 to $484,095,000. Total investments in bonds and securities rose from
$125,287,000 to $132,750,000. Reserve balances at the Reserve Bank increased from $37,289,000 to $39,156,000. Cash in vaults rose from $13,342,000 to $13,659,000. The volume of borrowing at the Reserve
Bank declined from $24,989,000 to $7,843,000. All of these changes, denoting an improvement in the po­
sition of the reporting banks and totaling $44,658,000, were made possible by increases in demand deposits
from $346,456,000 to $376,939,000 and in time deposits from $158,551,000 to $186,733,000, a total gain
in deposits amounting to $58,663,000. It should be mentioned, however, that the reporting banks are lo­
cated in the larger cities of the District, and the. statistics used in the above discussion do not reflect con­
ditions in country banks. Generally speaking, country banks are in a stronger position than they were a
year ago, but the change has not been nearly so marked as in the city institutions.

SAVINGS BANK DEPOSITS

Savings deposits reported by fourteen mutual savings banks in Baltimore continue to increase month
by month. At the end of January 1925, total deposits in the fourteen institutions amounted to $146,627,940,
compared with $146,163,741 a month earlier, December 31, 1924, and $141,102,463 a year ago, January
31, 1924. On January 31, 1923 the total of deposits amounted to $133,835,731; on January 31, 1922 to
$123,885,687; on January 31, 1921 to $122,749,845; and on January 31, 1920 to $118,733,466. The yearly
increases since January 1920 averaged 4.33 per cent, the smallest gain having been nine tenths of one per cent
in 1921 and the largest 8.03 per cent in 1922. The 1924 increase in total deposits amounted to 3.91 per
cent.

DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS IN LEADING TRADE CENTERS

In the accompanying table we show the total of all debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts
—exclusive of debits to bank accounts—reported by the clearing house banks in twenty-three of the lead­
ing trade centers in the Fifth Reserve District, figures covering three periods of five weeks each being in­
cluded. The totals for the five weeks ending February n , 1925, are compared with those reported for the
corresponding periods ending January 7, 1925 and February 13, 1924, thus affording an opportunity for
comparing the latest five weeks for which data are available with the corresponding periods a month and a
year earlier.
The five weeks ending February n , 1925, witnessed a smaller volume of debits than the immediately
preceding period, ending January 7, 1925, the decline being due to the large Christmas and first of the year
payments included in the previous period. Total debits in the twenty-three reporting cities amounted to
$1,446,541,000 during the five weeks ending February nth, compared with $1,521,488,000 reported for the
preceding period, ending on January 7th. The decrease was general throughout the District, nineteen of the
twenty-three cities reporting lower figures for the later period.




2

In comparison'with the five weeks ending February 13, 19^4^ when debits aggregating $1,386,168,000
were reported, the tptal of $1,446,541,000 reported for the corresponding period ending February 1 ith this
year shows an increase of $60,373,000,' or 4.4 per icerit, the increase probably being due to higher prices now

----*;..........^ ----;—-'--~—r;' ‘" ......... ....-------;
,
CITIES
Asheyille, N. G ,...............................................
Baltimore, M<};
.........
Charleston, S. C.
Charlotte, N. C.........,....................... ........
Columbia, S. C. ........... ....................................
Danville, Va. ..................________
Durham, N. C. ...........___________________ _
Greensboro, N. C.......................... ...................
Greenville, S. C..................................................
Hagerstown, Mdv —
—*......
Huntington, W. Va...........................1.......... ....
Lynchburg, Va.................V....... ..............
Norfolk* Va..............i— ........... ........... ..........
Richmond, Va.
.......................... .—
Roanoke, Va. ...........................................
Spartanburg, S. C......’.......................... ^
........
Washington, D. C............................:.................
Wilmington, N. C........................1....------Winston-Salem, N. C. ........ .
.—..^ 4
Total....

TOTAL DEBITS FOR THE FIVE WEEKS ENDING
Feb. 13, 1924
Jan. 7, 1925
Feb. 11, 1925 "U
, .26,098,000
$ 25,840,000
4 25,117,000
459.531.000
430.100.000
441.601.000
37.074.000
28.458.000
32.134.000
50.682.000
39.235.000
41.241.000
58.531.000
52.036.000
52.344.000 .
23.902.000
29.227.000
23,684,0^0
10.109.000
9.284.000
9,4^3,000
14.976.000
14.148.000
13.883.000
26.347.000
2a,881,000
26.703.000
31.281.000
25.540.000
27.331.000
30.170.000
30.610.000
28.891.000
11.397.000
11.936.000
*11,381,000
35.879.000
29.320.000
32.313.000
26.695.000
22.308.000
24.234.000 '
9,471,000
8.039.000
8,932,000
97.306.000
84.527.000
83.873.000
32.23.6.000
37.850.000
34.481.000
160.791.000
153.071.000
165.477.000
34.501.000
26.656.000
28.752.000
19.985.000
18.430.000
14.463.000
226.695.000
260.387.000
255.475.000
26.070.000
24.683.000
23.918.000
38.644.000
37.649.000
36.910.000
$ 1,446,541,000

$ 1,521,488,000

$ 1,386,168,000

prevailing in comparison with priced during the first month of 1924. Among the individual cities, fourteen
reported higher figures this year while nine reported decreased totals, the largest percentage gain being 27.4
per cent reported by Spartanburg. V
, -

BUSINESS FAILURES IN JANUARY

In eighteen of the past twenty years, business f ailures in Januaryhave exceeded those in the preceding
December, reflecting the?pressures that invariably develops in connection with annual settlements. This
year insolvencies in January numbered 2,317, with liabilities totaling $54,354,032, compared with 2,040 in­
solvencies in December 1924, with liabilities of $45,279,1281, an increase during January of 13.6 per cent in
number and 20.0 per cent in total liabilities. ,In comparison with January 1924, the current month this
year shows, up favorably in both number of failures andtotaj liabilities. Insolvencies in January 1924 num­
bered 2,108, with liabilities; of $51,272,508*. compared with the 2,317 insolvencies and liabilities totaling $54,354,032 reported;for January 1925, an .inerease this year of 9.9 per cent in number and of 6.0 per cent in
liabilities. There; were fewer ;Jarge;/defaults last
tlram
January since 1920, but the
53 failures for $i<X),poo or more in each case-involved; $26,805*026 altogether, which is, with the exception
of $38,133,674 of January 1922, the largest sum reported for January in all years back to 1915.
There were 188 failures in the Fifth ^District during^ January 1925, with liabilities of $4,029,401, com­
pared with 152 failures and liabilities of $2,771,624 in December 1924, and 152 failures and liabilities of
$3,505,170 in January last year. Januaty 19^5 failures exceeded those in January 1924 by 23.7 per cent
in number and 15.0 per cent in liabilities, the Fifth District record for the month being worse than the national
record in both number and liabilities.

LABOR

— Unemployment has broadened considerably since the turn of the year, and there are at
present a considerable nurnber of vi^rkers who are involuntarily idle. The usual seasonal dullness in mid­
winter was somewhat increased this year by exceptionally unfavorable weather that prevailed during
January, which postponed the beginning of or delayed further work on many outdoor projects. The number
of unemployed in the cities has been swelled" by ari, influx of transients attempting to work their way to
Florida and other Southern resorts, but there is little for such people to do. Tobacco factories in the Dis­
trict have laid off fewer people than usual at this season, and so^ne of the local plants have recently in­
creased their forces or are making plans to do so in the .very near future. Textile plants are operating on a
fuller time basis thah a year ago; arid oiperati\^s consequently have steadier employment. Agricultural labor
continues scarce ,but the unfa;yorable Weather1 has prevented farmers doing much work recently and there­
fore the farm labor shortage ha^ not been acutely felt as yet The outlook for the future in labor circles
is good, there being much conkruction work in prospect, and manufacturers as a. whole are optimistic on
future demands for their products.




3

COAL

— The increased rate of bituminous coal production mentioned in our Review last month was
not maintained during the latter half of January and the first half of February, the demand at the mines
having softened distinctly. The United States Geological Survey, in its report of February 14th, says that
telegraphic reports from the principal coal carrying railroads indicate that the present period of curtail­
ment of production is not yet over. Total production of soft coal during the first 263 working days of the
coal year 1924-1925 was 405,215,000 net tons, compared with the following tonnage produced in the same
number of days during each of the past six years:
1918-19 .
........ ........ 495,469,000 tons
1921-22.............................................365,164,000 tons
1919-20 .
................................417,776,000 tons
1922-23---- -------------............................355,396,000 tons
1920-2........................................1 ..............479,363,000 tons 1923-24..— ......................................485,943,000 tons
Revised figures on bituminous coal production in 1924, compiled by the Geological Survey, show that
West Virginia produced 110,000,000 net tons, or approximately 23 per cent of the national output. West
Virginia production was at the lowest point of the year in April, when 6,823,000 tons were mined, and the
peak was reached with 11,520,000 tons in October. Virginia produced 10,900,000 tons and Maryland 1,720,000 tons in 1924.

TEXTILES

— Textile mills in the Fifth Reserve District demonstrated their faith in the near future’s
business by consuming 241,646 bales of cotton during January 1925, compared with 231,953 bales consumed
in January 1924 and 224,463 bales used in January 1923. North Carolina mills used 134,280 bales, South
Carolina mills 96,459 bales, and Virginia mills 10,907 bales. The total consumption in the District during
January 1925 was 59.9 per cent of total consumption in the cotton growing states and 41.0 per cent of
national consumption. Most of the Southern mills are running at normal capacity, with sufficient orders
to take their output as made up. Buyers continue to place orders for actual needs only, and no speculative
purchasing of textiles is being done, but interest in the trade is increasing and prices are firm to higher on
nearly all lines. Some shortages are reported in special lines and premiums have been paid for print cloths
for spot delivery. The satisfactory way in which retail trade is being maintained adds to the confidence
felt by manufacturers in making plans for spring business.

COTTON—

In our Review last month we traced average weekly spot cotton prices in the Carolinas
through the week ending January 17th, that week averaging 23.08 cents per pound. The following week,
ending January 24th, the price remained practically unchanged at 23.05 cents, but the final week of the
month witnessed a decline to 22.65 cents. The price turned upward early in February, however, and av­
eraged 23.35 cents per pound during the week ending February 7th and 23.69 cents during the week ending
February 14th, the latest period for which figures are available. The decline during the week ending Jan­
uary 31st was chiefly due to the influence of the Census Bureau’s ginning report issued on January 23rd,
which show;ed that the number of bales ginned prior to January 16th exceeded the estimated yield for the
year, but optimistic reports of consumption and exports soon checked the decline and turned the market
upward again.
•
On February 14th the Census Bureau released cotton consumption figures for January. The report
showed 589,725 bales consumed during the month, a somewhat larger figure than had been expected by the
trade, but the report had little effect upon the market, most of the advance over earlier months having
been previously discounted. In January 1924 American mills used 578,468 bales. Total consumption for
the season, from August 1, 1924 to January 31, 1925, amounted to 2,939,305 bales, compared with 3,087,560
bales a year ago. Cotton on hand in manufacturing establishments numbered 1,433,814 bales on January 31,
1925, compared with 1,319,265 bales on December 31, 1924 and 1,637,824 bales on January 31, 1924. Pub­
lic warehouses and compresses held 3,863,475 bales at the end of January, compared with 4,623,863 bales
so held a month earlier and 2,963,983 bales a year ago. Spindles active in January numbered 33,180,758, com­
pared with 32,661,949 in December 1924 and 33,279,926 in January 1924. January imports totaled 54,822
bales, compared with 47,693 bales imported in January 1924, and exports in January amounted to 1,076,075 bales, compared with 546,853 bales sent abroad during the same month last year. Total exports during
the six months ending January 31st this year numbered 5,420,751 bales, compared with 3,868,043 bales dur­
ing the first half of the 1923-1924 cotton year.
On January 23rd the Census Bureau announced ginning figures prior to January 1 6th, and the report
revealed that several states and the nation as a whole had exceeded the estimates of production made by
the Department of Agriculture on December 8th. Total ginnings to January 16th amounted to 13,308,037
bales, compared with the December estimate of production of 13,153,000 bales, and ginnings last year of
9,944,032 bales before the middle of January. In detail, the report credited North Carolina with having
ginned 821,937 bales compared with an expected yield of 765,000 bales, while South Carolina had ginned
821,749 bales compared with an expected wield of 750,000 bales. Virginia also exceeded expectations, gin­
nings totaling 34,918 bales comparing with the December estimate of 30,000 bales. Fifth District production
has evidently exceeded the December estimate by at least 133,604 bales, but still falls approximately 175,000
bales short of the 1923-1924 production. South Carolina’s crop this year is larger than the one of the pre­
vious year, but the yield was not evenly distributed, the Piedmont counties reporting good crops while the
southern counties experienced a virtual crop failure.




4

TOBACCO—

The Virginia auction markets sold 18,919,833 pounds of producers’ tobacco in January,
according to reports to the Commissioner of Agriculture and made public by the Agricultural Statistician.
Of the total amount of tobacco sold, 9,164,778 pounds represented Bright tobacco, which brought an average
price of $20.30 per hundred pounds, compared with 9,360,008 pounds of Bright tobacco sold in January 1924
for an average of $21.40 per hundred. The Dark markets sold 7,622,977 pounds in January, for $19.66 per
hundred, compared with 5,697,483 pounds sold at $19.08 per hundred in January last year. Only a little
Burley and Sun-cured tobacco was sold. Danville led the Bright markets in sales with 5,037,917 pounds,
and Lynchburg with 2,354,837 pounds led the Dark markets. All of the Sun-cured tobacco was sold at
Richmond, 1,144,845 pounds, while Abingdon sold 987,230 pounds of Burley, all of that type that was
marketed. Total producers’ sales to February 1st, including deliveries to the Tobacco Growers Association
to January 1st, amounted to 98,238,565 pounds, compared with 104,736,277 sold or delivered to the same
dates a year ago. It is estimated that 67.2 per cent of the year’s crop was sold before February 1st this
year in comparison with 65.8 per cent sold to the corresponding date in 1924.
Producers’ sales of tobacco in North Carolina amounted to 16,591,102 pounds in January, only about
58 per cent of the 28,377,478 pounds marketed in January 1924. Season sales to February 1st amount to
225,228,900 pounds, compared with 290,386,420 pounds sold to the same date in 1924. The tobacco sold in
January brought an average of $2 1.13 Per hundred in comparison with $19.80 per hundred paid in January
1924. Warehousemen state that this year’s crop is nearly all sold, and that January’s offerings included a
large amount of scrap and poor tobacco. Winston-Salem led the North Carolina markets in January with
sales of 5,237,198 pounds.

BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF JANUARY, 1925 AND 1924.

Premits Issued
N
fY m e triirtin n
A lt e r a t io n s
New
Repairs
CITIES
1924
1924
1925
1925 1924 1925 1924 1925
Baltimore, Md..... 270 294 472 683 $ 2,133,960 $ 3,282,120 $ 322,200 $ 245,880
7,070
48,865
43,183
Cumberland, Md... 11 17
6
9 326,085
800
5,000
Frederick, Md.
9
5,025
5
1
1 29,700
*13,375
Hagerstown, Md... *19
*7
*163,010
14,315 101,658
62,642
Lynchburg, Va__ 8
22 18 103,225
68,485
Norfolk, Va.
37,355
237,415
37 92 97 46 143,800
2,165
Petersburg, Va..... 4
21,710
12,050
46,950
8 9
3
Richmond, Va.
105 113 54 62 775,420 1,361,750 126,930 148,371
10,864
9,020
Roanoke, Va....... 47 67 24 21 273,125
179,375
1,700
5,050
Bluefield, W. Va... 17 14
4
115,490
40,400
5
30,430
Charleston, W. Va. 27 35 21 37 368,216
184,542
17,325
4,675
3,075
Clarksburg, W. Va 14 23
105,985
7 10
16,910
16,640
12,775
Huntington, W. Va 133 73 16 17 598,150 1,396,743
3,900
Parkersburg,W.Va 8 11
24,350
200
1 12
17,800
13,420
Asheville, N. C..... 36 31 47 32 321,045
25,840
181,315
2,475
Charlotte, N. C..... 30 33 15 4 567,224 1,393,955
18,290
7,450
Durham, N. C.
9 18 4
92,000
4,550
4
53,400
38,570
Greensboro, N. C. 52 47 21 15 177,265
790,978
14,715
1,550
4,380
High Point, N. C... 30 35
4
4
60,540
54,647
11,300
Raleigh, N. C.
35 56
198,936
10,490
8
5 578,810
0
Salisbury, N. C. .... 4 34
100,860
800
15,570
1 0
5,550
Wilmington, N. C. 5 11
18,800
40,000
4,250
6
2
20,621
Winston-Salem, N. C.
151,720
37,670
52 56 78 43 262,529
5,050
Charleston, S. C. .. 11
3,400
800
6,435
4 18 20
10,152
Columbia, S. C..... 7 29 46 44
83,250
48,180
7,340
Greenville, S. C. . 10 28 20 18 108,650
87,555
2,125 101,135
6,540
Spartanburg, S. C. 29 34 26 25
9,177
94,557 220,955
Washington, D. C. 199 247 75 178 4,027,925 1,255,205 241,890 717,370
Totals.......... 1,199 1,432 1,103 1,318 $11,211,806 $11,668,358 $1,006,090 $1,583,821
p w

z0

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28

Increase or Per Cent
of
of
Decrease Increase o\
Total
or
Valuation Decrease Z
$—1,071,840 — 30.4% 1
313,333 560.2 2
28,875 495.7 3
4
— 46,760 — 28.5 5
— 124,745 — 40.8 6
— 15,355 — 31.3 7
— 607,771 — 40.2 8
91,906 48.3 9
— 71,740 — 61.2 10
170,569 79.3 11
— 90,675 — 81.9 12
— 802,458 56.8 13
— 10,250 — 36.3 14
152,150 78.1 15
— 810,916 — 58.1 16
— 41,500 — 41.7 17
— 637,568 — 76.9 18
8,723 15.5 19
379,064 180.3 20
— 84,490 — 83.8 21
— 22,500 — 49.4 22
127,858 74.2 23
3,985 6 8 . 1 24
32,258 55.3 25
— 77,915 — 41.3 26
— 123,761 — 54.4 27
2,297,240 116.5 28
$—1,034,283 — 7.89b

•Hagerstown figures not included in totals —Denotes decrease
NOTE- The figures in the above table reflect the amount of work provided for in the corporation limits of the several
cities, but take no account of suburban developments.
Both the number of permits and the estimated valuation for new construction issued in twenty-eight
Fifth District cities during January fell below the number and valuations of either December 1924 or Jan­
uary 1924, but in view of the unfavorable weather that prevailed in January and the high number and
valuation reported last year, the showing was not unsatisfactory. Permits for new work in January num­
bered 1,199,
estimated valuation of $11,211,806, compared with 1,726 permits and a valuation of $13,127,455 in December and 1,432 permits and $11,668,358 in January last year. Alteration and repair per­
mits totaled 1,103 in January, with estimated valuation of $1,006,090, compared with 1,553 permits and valu­
ation of $1,307,122 in December, and 1,318 permits and valuation of $1,583,821 in January 1924. Combined




5

valuation for all classes of work in January 1925 totaled $12,217,896, or 7-8 per cent less than the total
of $13,252,179 reported for the corresponding month last year.
Although 1924 was a record year in construction work in the Fifth District, it does not appear that all
housing needs have been met, and many plans are being considered for work to be Undertaken in 1925;
There is much agitation for highway improvement, and the North Carolina legislature has a $20,000,000
road bond issue under discussion. Railroads are building up their properties, arid a number of manufact
uring establishments are enlarging their plants. Dealers in building materials o£ all kinds are optimistic
on the future, and profess to expect a profitable amount of business for at least the next few months.

AGRICULTURAL NOTES

— The weather from the first of the year to the middle of February was
unfavorable for farm work, and little was done except on well drained land. The principal work has
been fencing, cleaning up fields, hauling wood, etc. Bad roads in many localities have handicapped hauling.
In Virginia the greater part of the 1924 corn crop has been fed, and there isi, a smaller supply pf
corn on farms in the eastern part of the state than for a number of yeai>s. Wheat was covered with snow
and consequently escaped serious damage from the December and January freezes, but the crop has made
little growth and appears backward. Fall sown grasses and clovers have.suffered in some Sections from al­
ternate freezing and thawing, or from excessive rain. Hay is becoming scarce in eastern ,counties. Prepa­
rations are being made for burning tobacco plant beds, but generally the ground ha? been too wet for such
work. Farmers are preparing to seed the early potato crop, which will begin about March 1st. Peanuts
brought good prices last year considering the quality of the crop, and it now appears, lijcely that some far­
mers who took up cotton for the first time in 1924 will switch back to peanuts this yeah Cattle’ wintered
fairly well in Virginia, but the cold, wet weather caused a greater loss tff lamlK
is a
shortage of brood sows throughout the state.
North Carolina farm work is about up to the average for thi^ time of the year, but ljess plowing was done
last fall than usual. Small grain is in good condition on the whole. The acreage in grain is smaller than a
year ago. Seeding of spring oats is now being begun in eastern counties. ' Feed is ;scarce, especially in
eastern counties, and hay and corn bring good prices.

FIGURES ON RETAIL TRADE *
As Indicated By Reports from Twenty-nine Representative Department Stores
______________________________ for the Month of January,>1925» ^
fey fj---------------------- ^ ^
---------- ----------------------------------------------------------------^
-----------|

-----------------

Percentage increase in net sales during January 1925, compared with January 1924: v
,
Baltimore
Richmond
Washington
Other Cities
District
— 3.6
— 0.6
— 2.8
t i— 0$/
— 2.7
^
Percentage increase in net sales during January 1925, compared with average January sales during the five
years 1920-1924 inclusive:
:
^
*
— 7.9
27.2
2,0
* 2,4
C;
03
Percentage increase in stocks at the end of January 1925, over stocks on January Si, 1924:
,--.i
0.5
10.9
— 5.7
ir— 9$;
— 2.0
Percentage increase in stocks at the end of January 1925, over stocks on December,*31, 1924:
!
— 5.7
— 7.6
— 8.8
— 1.9.
' \ — 6.4
Percentage of average stocks on hand at the end of January 1925 to. average net sales Suring the same month :
405.3
403.9
388.2
520.6
411.4
Percentage of outstanding orders at the end of January 1925, to total purchases of merchandise during the year
1924:
6.2
6.7
7.4
7.6
68
— Denotes decreased percentage; other figures show gains.
Retail trade in January, as reflected by sales in twenty-nine leading£department stores in the Fifth
District, was 2.7 per cent less in dollar amount than in January 1924, but was 0.3 per cent greater than aver­
age January sales during the five years 1920-1924, inclusive. Reports indicate that the unfavorable weather
was chiefly to blame for January’s slump under sales a year ago, rain, snow*'and ice keeping many pros­
pective shoppers off the streets.
- ,’
r ; : > v> ^
Stocks on the shelves of the reporting stores at the end of January 1925 averages 2.0 per cent less in
selling value than on January 31, 1924 and 6.4 per cent less than ori December 31/1924. Considering that
January is seasonally a dull month, the rate of stock turnover was good, the percentage of stock on hand at
the end of that month being only 411.4 per cent of net sales reported for January.
Outstanding orders for merchandise on January 31st amounted to 6.8 per cent of total merchandise pur­
chases in 1924.
In future, current sales will be compared to average sales during the corresponding month over a five
year period, 1920-1924 inclusive, instead of over a three year period as heretofore. Averages of sales during
the longer period should give more accurate base figures for use in future comparisons. -




6

WHOLESALE TRADE
January, 1925.
Percentage increase (or decrease) in net sales in January 1925, compared with sales in December 1924:
42 Groceries
15 Dry Goods
13 Shoes
18 Hardware
6 Furniture
13 Drugs
— 2.8
36.2
— 9.3
8.9
29.2
9.3
Percentage increase (or decrease) in net sales in January 1925, compared with sales in January 1924:
4.6
—24.7
—19.1
— 8.3
24.2
— 2.5
Percentage increase (or decrease) in stocks on January 31, 1925, compared with December 31, 1924:
8.5(10)
19.1(8)
4.4(6)
— 1.6(6)
16.0(3)
.......
Percentage increase (or decrease) in stocks on January 31, 1925, compared with January 31, 1924:
17.5(9)
—22.4(8)
—12.2(6)
— 5.2(5)
—11.5(3)
.......
— Denotes decreased percentage.
NOTE:—The number of firms reporting stock figures for the dates compared is shown in parenthesis immedi­
ately after the percentage figure.
The accompanying table shows in percentage form the increase or decrease in the dollar amount of sales
made in January 1925 by representative wholesale firms dealing in groceries, dry goods, shoes, hardware, fur­
niture and drugs, in comparison with (1) sales made in December 1924, and (2) with sales in January
1924. In addition, a number of the firms reported inventory figures at the end of the several months used
in the comparisons, and percentage increases or decreases in stock on hand are shown.
Dry goods, hardware, furniture and drug sales increased in January in comparison with December, while
grocery and shoe sales decreased. Stocks increased in groceries, dry goods, shoes and furniture during the
past month, a seasonal development following the inventory period. Hardware stocks declined slightly in
January.
In comparison with January 1924, the current month this year does not show up favorably. Decreased
sales this year were reported in dry goods, shoes, hardware and drugs, groceries and furniture showing the
only increases. Stocks on January 31, 1925, were larger in grocery establishments, but were smaller in all
other lines.
Collections continue slower than a year ago, when 82.8 per cent of the reporting firms classified col­
lections as either Good or Fair, compared with 75.3 per cent so classifying them in January this year. Nine­
ty-three of the reporting firms classified their collections both last year and this, the grouping made being
as follows:
Lines
Groceries ......................
Dry Goods ....... ...........
Shoes .............................
Hardware .....................
Furniture ....................
Drugs ..........................
January Totals ....




January
Collections Reported As
Good
Fair
Slow
Poor
Total
1925-1924
1925-1924
1925-1924
1925-1924
1925-1924
7 1 1
21
21
7 4
1 0
36
36
1 1
9 8
5 6
0 0
IS I5
0 0
8 8
2 3
1 0
i i i i
2 5
9 9
3
1
1 0
15
15
1 1
3 3
2 2
0 0
6 6
5
4_________ 4
6_________1_____ o
_____ o
o______10
10
16
22
54 55
20
16
3
o
93 93

(Compiled February 20,1925)
7

BUSINESS CONDITION IN THE UNITED STATES.
Compiled by the Federal Reserve Board

PERCENT

PERCENT

Index of 22 basic commodities corrected for seasonal variation (1919-100)..
Latest figure-January 126.

1922

1923

192**

1925

Index of U. & Bureau of Labor Statistics (1913-100, base adopted by Bureau)
Latest figure-January 160.

______ J_______ _____
1922

1923

192A-

______ O
'1925

.Weekly figures for 12 Federal Reserve banks. Latest figures, February 18th.

1922

1923

1924-

1925

. Weekly figures for Member Banks in 101 leading cities. Latest figures, Feb­
ruary, lit!}.




Further growth in production during January carried the output
of basic commodities to the highest point reached since the spring
of 1923. Employment at industrial establishments increased slightly,
but remained below the level of a year ago. Prices of farm products
continued to advance and there were smaller increases in the whole­
sale prices of most of the other groups of commodities.
PRODUCTION. Production in basic industries, after a rapid
increase in recent months, advanced 8 per cent in January and was
34 per cent above the low point of last summer. The most important
factor in the increase in the level of production since August has
been the greater activity in the iron and steel industry, but in Jan­
uary the output of lumber, minerals, food products, and paper, and
the mill consumption of cotton also showed considerable increases.
The woolen industry was somewhat less active in January and output
of automobiles, though larger than in December, was considerably
smaller than a year ago. Further increases during the month in
employment in the metal, textile, and leather industries were largely
offset by seasonal declines in the number employed in the building
materials and food products industries. Building activity, as meas­
ured by contracts awarded, though less in January than during the
closing months of 1924, was near the high level of a year ago.
TRADE. Railroad shipments were in record volume for this
time of year, and loadings of merchandise and miscellaneous prod­
ucts were particularly heavy.
Wholesale trade in January, however, was slightly smaller than
in December. Sales of groceries, shoes, and hardware were in
smaller volume, while sales of dry goods and drugs increased. De­
partment store sales in most districts were somewhat smaller than
a year ago, but sales of mail order houses were considerably larger.
PRICES. Wholesale prices, as measured by the index of the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, rose 2 per cent during January to the
highest level in four years. The increase of 10 per cent in the
index since last June represents an advance of 19 per cent in prices
of agricultural commodities and 3 per cent in other commodities.
In the first half of February prices of grains, wool, coal, and lead
declined, while petroleum and gasoline prices advanced sharply, and
cotton, silk, and rubber showed smaller increases.
BANK CREDIT. Loans and investments of member banks in
leading cities, following the rapid growth during the last half of
1924, declined by about $100,000,000 between the middle of January
and the middle of February. This decrease represents a reduction
in the holdings of investments, chiefly at banks in New York, partly
offset by an increase in loans. Loans on stocks and bonds increased
though less rapidly than in the latter part of 1924, while loans for
commercial purposes declined slightly from the high level reached in
the middle of January. Net demand deposits, owing largely to
decreases at New York City banks, declined sharply from the high
point reached in the middle of January.
At the Federal reserve banks the seasonal liquidation resulting
from the return flow of currency from circulation came to a close by
January 21 and during the following four weeks there was an increase
in total earning assets. This increase reflected largely the demand
for gold for export, which led member banks to increase their dis­
counts at the reserve banks. Reserve bank holdings of United States
securities declined further, while acceptances showed relatively little
change for the period.
Money rates, after remaining comparatively steady during most
of January, showed a firmer tendency during the early part of
February, when rates for prime commercial paper advanced to 3%
per cent.
6