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MONTHLY REVIEW
CREDIT, BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W. HOXTON,

C h a irm a n a n d F e d e r a l R e s e r v e A g e n t

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

N

INETEEN THIRTY-ONE began with business
on a distinctly lower level than in 1930, and
January and early February showed no marked
tendency in either direction. Some factors improved
while others lost ground, but on the whole it is .prob­
able that average developments were about on season­
al levels, in comparison with trade of recent months.
A large number of banks in the Fifth district are in a
stronger position than they occupied a year ago, with
lower liabilities and more liquid assets, in spite of a
considerable amount of frozen credit in rural sections
as aj result of drought damage last summer and fall,
and lower prices for agricultural products. Demand
deposits in member banks are lower than a year ago,
but time deposits are higher, probably due to an accu­
mulation of funds awaiting an opportunity for profit­
able investment. Debits to individual accounts figures
in clearing house banks in twenty-four cities during
the four weeks ended February 11, 1931, were 9.3 per
cent less than debits during! the corresponding four
weeks in 1930, but price changes during the year ac­
counted for a considerable part of the decline. Em­
ployment showed no improvement during the first six
weeks of 1931, and construction work for which per­
mits were issued or contracts were awarded was in
small volume. Coal production on a daily basis de­
clined somewhat from the December rate of output
and was much below the rate of production in Jan­
uary 1930. On the other hand, there were signs of
improvement in the textile field, and cotton prices ad­
vanced moderately between the middle of January and
the middle of February. Cotton consumption in the
Fifth district in January, while much below that of
January 1930, showed a seasonal increase over De­
cember consumption. Tobacco marketing continued
in large volume last month, but the quality of tobacco
sold was so poor that average prices realized by grow­
ers were much lower than last year. Department store
sales for January were comparatively good, averaging
only 3.7 per cent less than sales in January 1930, in con­
trast with a National decrease in department store trade
with a National decrease in department store trade
averaging approximately 7 per cent. Lower commodity
prices account for at least a part of the January de­
cline in sales. Wholesale trade in January showed




FEBRUARY 28, 1931
seasonal gains over December trade, but was much be­
low the volume of business done in January 1930.
In studying various business indices for the Fifth
reserve district, the present position of the farmer
should be duly taken into account. As a result of last
summer's drought and lower prices received in the
fall for the leading crops, a large number of farmers
are not in the market for any commodities except the
bare necessities of life, and little improvement can be
expected in agricultural conditions before the next
harvest time; the impairment of the credit standing of
many farmers will handicap them in planting and grow­
ing this year’s crops, and inability to finance the usual
acreage may tend to reduce production.

Reserve Bank Statement
ITEMS

000 omitted
Feb. 15 Jan. 15 Feb. 15
1931
1931
1930

Rediscounts held ___________ $ 17,743 $ 23,332 $ 21,149
2,418
7,384
14,124
Open market paper
9,902
17,261
17,261
Government securities _______
45,175
47,977
Total earning assets----------- 37,422
81,543
90,569
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes.... 84,343
60,892
65,775
Members’ reserve deposits------ 59,200
Cash reserves--------------------- 113,072 113,505 113,216
77.22
72.71
75.69
Reserve ratio ______________

Rediscounts for member banks held by the Federal
Reserve Bank of Richmond declined $5,589,000 be­
tween January 15 and February 15, both this year,
and on the latter date totaled $3,406,000 less than on
February 15 last year. About 75 per cent of last
month’s decline in member bank borrowing at the re­
serve bank was in rediscounts for banks in agricul­
tural centers, but approximately 65 per cent of the
decrease in rediscounting in comparison with the pre­
ceding year was for banks in the larger cities. The
Bank decreased its portfolio of open market paper by
$4,966,000 last month, and assets of this character
dropped $11,706,000 during the year. Government
security holdings of the Richmond bank remained un­
changed from January 15 to February 15 at a figure
$7,359,000 above that of February 15, 1930. The va­
rious changes in earning assets during the month and
year resulted in a net decrease in total earning assets

MONTHLY REVIEW

2

of $10,555,000 between January 15 and February 15,
and of $7,753,000 between February 15 last year and
the corresponding! date this year.
The volume of Federal reserve notes in actual cir­
culation declined $6,226,000 between January 15 and
February 15, a regular seasonal reduction, but on Feb­
ruary 15 this year circulation exceeded that of Feb­
ruary 15, 1930, by $2,800,000. Member bank reserve
deposits at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond de­
clined $1,692,000 last month, and at the middle of
February were $6,575,000 less than reserve deposits
on February 15, 1930, the year's decrease being chiefly
due to lower aggregate deposits in member banks
against which reserves must be carried. The several
changes mentioned, with others of less importance,
lowered the cash reserves of the Richmond bank as
of February 15, 1931, only $433,000 below <the January
15, 1931, total and $144,000 below the total reserve on
February 15, 1930. The ratio of cash reserves to note
and deposit liabilities combined declined by 4.51 points
between January 15 and February 15, this year, and
on the latter date was 1.53 points lower than on the
corresponding date a year ago.

of $3,375,000 last month, but during the year aggre­
gate deposits declined by $13,396,000.
On February 11, 1931, the fifty-four reporting mem­
ber banks had investments in stocks and bonds totaling
$6,276,000 more than on January 14, 1931, and this
item increased by $28,491,000 during the past year.
Aggregate reserve balance of the reporting banks at
the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond rose $3,628,000
during the past month, and on February 11 was $2,340,000 above the balance a year ago. Cash in vaults
rose materially last month, by $2,403,000, and reached
a point $5,542,000 above the cash in vaults on Feb­
ruary 12, 1930. Borrowing by the reporting! banks at
the reserve bank on February 11, 1931, was $1,474,000 less than a month earlier and $2,008,000 less than
a year ago.

Member Bank Statement

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

ITEMS

000 omitted
Feb. 11 Jan. 14 Feb. 12
1931
1931
1930

Loans on stocks and bonds (in­
cluding Governments) ------All other loans______________
Total loans and discounts---Investment in stocks and bonds..
Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank....
Cash in vaults--------------------Demand deposits ---------------Time deposits ..... ......................
Borrowed from F. R. Bank......

$166,604 $171,538 $192,139
270,129 274,979 302,464
436,733 446,517 494,603
183,600 177,324 155,109
37,979
36,691
40,319
11,147
14,286
16,689
333,269 334,505 352,830
246,342 241,731 240,177
7,234
6,700
5,226

The figures in the above table are totals of the prin­
cipal items of condition as of the three dates for fiftyfour member banks in thirteen of the leading cities of
the Fifth Federal reserve district. It should be under­
stood that the figures shown reflect the condition of the
reporting banks on the report dates only, and are not
necessarily the highest or lowest figures that occurred
during the periods under review.
During the four weeks between January 14 and
February 11, both this year, loans on stocks and bonds
at the fifty-four reporting member banks decreased by
$4,934,000, and on the later date totaled $25,535,000
less than on February 12, 1930. All other loans de­
creased $4,850,000 last month and $32,335,000 during
the year. Total loans, therefore, declined $9,784,000
in the past four weeks and $57,870,000 in the year, the
latter a decrease of 11.7 per cent. Demand deposits
declined by $1,236,000 last month, and during the past
year dropped $19,561,000, both smaller figures than the
decreases in loans. On the other hand, time deposits in­
creases in loans. On the other hand, time deposits in
the reporting institutions rose $4,611,000 between Jan­
uary 14 and February 11, and on the latter date were
$6,165,000 higher than on February 12, 1930. De­
mand and time deposits combined show a net increase




Debits to Individual Accounts
CITIES

000 omitted
Total debits, four weeks ended
Feb. 11,
Jan. 14
Feb. 12
1930
1931
1931
11,109
355,670
16,300
38,892
36,636
19,459
6,963
6,151
23,355
16,195
15,028
7,398
16,814
16,311
10,429
45,172
4,063
20,158
122,768
26,711
7,927
209,932
10,738
28,575

10,945
381,117
17,348
45,298
39,070
40,372
7,992
7,782
22,433
20,863
14,939
8,227
20,293
19,007
11,133
51,057
4,191
26,529
130,355
27,054
12,480
224,103
13,234
31,804

District Totals ..... — $1,072,754

$1,187,626

$

25,129
367,317
19,840
38,612
48,045
22,616
8,030
9,979
26,105
20,173
20,760
8,536
20,562
18,190
9,849
56,254
4,802
20,554
127,156
30,082
12,357
216,126
12,921
38,855

$1,182,850

Aggregate payments by check drawn on clearing
house banks in twenty-four cities of the Fifth Federal
reserve district are shown in the accompanying table
for three equal periods of four weeks, thus affording
opportunity for comparison of the latest figures, for the
four weeks ended February 11, 1931, with those for
the preceding like period this year and the correspond­
ing period a year ago.
Debits during the four weeks ended February 11,
1931, were 9.7 per cent below the aggregate of debits
in the preceding four weeks, ended January 14, 1931,
but this was largely a seasonal reduction due to the
larjge volume of payments which occur on or around
January 1. Only three cities, Asheville, Durham and
Greenville, S. C., reported higher figures for the later
period, and these three increases were small. In com­
parison with the figures reported for the corresponding
four weeks of 1930, aggregate debits for the four weeks

MONTHLY REVIEW
ended February 11 this year show a decline of 9.3 per
cent, a more marked decrease than figures for most re­
cent months have shown. Twenty-two of the twentyfour reporting cities sent in lower 1931 figures, Char­
leston, W. Va., and Newport News, Va., registering
the only increases. Among the larger cities of the
Fifth district, Baltimore declined 3.2 per cent, Wash­
ington 2.9 per cent, and Richmond 3.5 per cent, all
below the average decrease for the district, but Nor­
folk declined 19.7 per cent, Charlotte 23.7 per cent, and
Winston-Salem 26.5 per cent. Asheville reported the
largest decline with 55.8 per cent, due to bank failures
in that city in November 1930, and Danville was next
with a decline of 38.4 per cent, chiefly due to greatly
decreased prices paid for this year’s tobacco crop and
to the effects of the textile strike in the city.

Savings Deposits

For the first time on record, aggregate deposits in
twelve mutual savings banks in Baltimore reached the
two hundred million dollar mark at the end of January,
the exact figure as of the close of business January 31,
1931, being $200,969,642, compared with $198,794,363
reported a month earlier and $190,250,263 reported on
January 31, 1930. Time deposits in fifty-four reg­
ularly reporting member banks in the Fifth district also
rose last month, totaling $246,342,000 on February 11,
1931, in comparison with $241,731,000 on January 14
this year and $240,177,000 on February 12, 1930.

Commercial Failures

Although the number of business failures in January
1931 in the Fifth reserve district was the largest for
any month since March 1922 and aggregate liabilities
involved were greater than for any other month since
April 1930, the district record last month was dis­
tinctly better than the National average in both number
and liabilities. Bankruptcies in the Fifth district in
January 1931 totaled 203, an increase of 10.3 per cent
over 184 failures in January 1930, in comparison with
a National increase of 20.2 per cent in number of in­
solvencies last month over the number in January last
year. Liabilities in the Fifth district last month totaled
$4,339,019, a relatively high figure, but 3.8 per cent
less than $4,509,938 reported for January 1930. Jan­
uary 1931 showed a National increase of 54.6 per cent
in aggregate liabilities, in comparison with those of
January 1930.

Employment

The most important change in employment con­
ditions in the Fifth reserve district between the middle
of January and the middle of February was the set­
tlement of the strike of textile workers at Danville.
The strike began on September 29, 1930, and was
abandoned on January 29, 1931, by vote of the strikers.
However, this settlement did not lessen materially the
number oif idle workers in the district, since the mills
affected by the strike had been running to some extent
with other labor and were unable to re-employ any
considerable number of the old force. The past month
witnessed no increase in employment in the building
trades, construction work continuing in small volume.
There was some gain in operating time in textile mills




3

in January and early February, but the increase was
small and gave longer hours of employment to workers
already at work rather than taking on additional work­
ers.

Coal Production

Bituminous coal production in the United States
totaled approximately 38,745,000 net tons in January
1931, in comparison with 39,716,000 tons in December
and 49,778,000 tons in January 1930. Total produc­
tion during the present coal year to February 7 (ap­
proximately 263 working days) amounts to 382,894,000 net tons, a much smaller figure than for any other
recent year.
In its February 14 report, the Bureau of Mines, De­
partment of Commerce, gave annual production figures
of soft coal by states for the past nine years. In 1930
West Virginia mined 120,040,000 tons, the smallest
output in that state since 1923, and second for 1930
to Pennsylvania, which mined 122,459,000 tons. Vir­
ginia produced 11,115,000 tons last year, and Mary­
land dug 2,288,000 tons. Total production in 1930 in
the Fifth district was 133,443,000 tons, or 28.9 per
cent of National production totaling 461,630,000 tons.

Textiles

Textile mills in the Fifth district increased operating
time to some extent during January, although not all
mills shared in the increase. Cotton consumed by the
mills in the district totaled 207,320 bales in January,
of which North Carolina mills used 106,691 bales.
South Carolina mills 90,402 bales, and Virginia mills
10,227 bales, the latter a surprisingly high figure in view
of the strike of textile workers at Danville. January
cotton consumption in the Fifth district compares with
184,815 bales used in December and 261,391 bales in
January 1930. Consumption in the district was 45.65
per cent of National consumption in January 1931, a
higher figure than 45.50 per cent in December and
45.37 per cent in January 1930. Semi-official reports
indicate that sales of textiles in January exceeded pro­
duction for that month, and for a year or more mills
have operated on schedules sufficiently restricted to
prevent serious accumulation of manufactured goods
in their warehouses.

Cotton Statistics

Cotton prices on ten leading Southern spot markets
rose somewhat between the middle of January and the
middle of February, advancing from an average of
9.29 cents per pound for upland middling cotton on
January 16 to an average of 10.14 cents per pound on
February 13, the latest date for which quotations are
available. On February 14 last year the average price
on the same markets was 15.33 cents, approximately
$26 a bale more than on the corresponding 1931 date.
The average price has advanced slightly more than $6
a bale since the middle of December, when the lowest
price in fifteen years was reached.
Cotton consumption in the mills of the United States
in January totaled 454,188 bales, an increase over
406,207 bales used in December but 21.2 per cent
below the January consumption of 576,160 bales in
1930, according to the February 14 report of the Bu­

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

reau of the Census. Total consumption of cotton in
the six months ended January 31 amounted to 2,466,432
hales, against 3,314,345 bales consumed in the cor­
responding period of the 1929-1930 season. Cotton
on hand at manufacturing establishments on January
31, 1931, totaled 1,613,475 bales, compared with 1,659,432 bales on hand a month earlier, December 31,
and 1,825,793 bales on January 31, 1930. Public
warehouses and compresses held 7,939,454 bales of cot­
ton in storage at the end of January, compared with
8,377,720 bales in storage a month earlier and 5,404,731
bales a year ago. Bales of cotton exported last month
totaled 624,631, a smaller figure than 765,835 bales
shipped over seas in December or 728,737 bales ex­
ported in January last year. January 1931 imports
totaled 11,299 bales, compared with 4,461 bales in De­
cember and 51,474 bales in January 1930. Cotton
spindles active at some time in January numbered 25,611,458, compared with 25,525,820 in December and
29,177,228 in January 1930.
Consumlpition of cotton in the cotton growing states
numbered 359,879 bales in January 1931, against 322,136 bales in December and 450,620 bales in January
last year. The cotton growing states used 79.2 per
cent of National consumption in January this year,
compared with 79.3 per cent in December and 78.2
per cent in January 1930. Of the 359,879 bales used
in Southern states last month, the three Fifth district
states which manufacture cotton goods, the two Carolinas and Virginia, consumed 207,320 bales, or 57.6
per cent, compared with 58.0 per cent in January last
year.

Tobacco Marketing

Virginia auction markets sold 33,059,614 pounds of
producers’ tobacco in January, at an average price of
$9.00 per hundred pounds. Season sales to February
1, including tobacco brought in from other states,
totaled approximately 110,000,000 pounds, 93 (per cent
of the estimated sales for the season. In January
1930 sales of 30,822,463 pounds of tobacco brought
the season sales up to 89 per cent of the year’s total
sales. Flue-cured tobacco sold in January totaled 19,130,171 pounds, at an average price of $6.37 per hun­
dred, compared with 16,306,242 pounds of this type
sold in January 1930, at an average of $16.46 per hun­
dred. Fire-cured tobacco sales in January were un­
usually heavy, totaling 7,371,628 pounds, but were be­
low sales of 8,338,601 pounds in January 1930. The
average price paid for fire-cured tobacco last month
was $9.26, compared with $18.13 in January last year.
Sales of burley tobacco, all at Abingdon, totaled 5,722,338 pounds last month, and averaged $17.57 per hun­
dred pounds, sales of this type being the largest for
any month on record. Sun-cured sales on the Rich­
mond market totaled 835,477 pounds last month, and
the average price received by growers was $8.16 per
hundred pounds. Danville sold 8,298,279 pounds of
flue-cured tobacco last month, South Boston sold 4,371,365 pounds of the same type, and Blackstone with
1,819,759 pounds led the fire-cured markets. Dan­
ville also led the flue-cured markets in price paid with
an average of $7.34 per hundred pounds, while Black-




stone paid an average of $13.47 per hundred for firecured tobacco, leading the markets for that type. The
quality of tobacco sold in January 1931 was poorer than
in January 1930. The burley market at Abingdon
closed about the middle of February but most fluecured markets will continue operations until about
March 1.
North Carolim auction markets feold 49,097,523
pounds of tobacco for growers in January, at an aver­
age price of $10.66 per hundred pounds, compared with
26,708,007 pounds sold for an average of $16.80 per
hundred in January 1930. Total sales this season, to
February 1, amounted to 539,461,542 pounds, com­
pared with 473,047,438 pounds sold prior to February
1, 1930. Winston-Salem sold 11,887,416 pounds in
January 1931, leading all markets, while Henderson
with sales of 4,816,918 pounds and Wilson with 4,481,376 pounds ranked second and third, respectively.
In average price paid, Asheville led with $16.36 per
hundred, but the tobacco sold in Asheville was burley
and was not representative of the State’s crop. Among
the flue-cured markets, Fuquay Springs led in price
last month with $14.64 per hundred pounds, Carthage
coming second with an average of $14.12.

Tobacco Manufacturing

The Internal Revenue Bureau of the Treasury De­
partment issued ai report on February 5 giving some
interesting figures on taxes collected by the United
States on tobacco manufacturing in 1930. Total taxes
collected on all tobacco products amounted to $444,754,712, and of this sum, $343,885,497, or 77.3 per
cent, was paid in the Fifth Federal reserve district,
chiefly in North Carolina and Virginia. In comparison
with taxes paid to the United States in 1929, those for
the country as a whole declined 7/10ths of 1 per cent
in 1930, but the taxes paid last year in the Fifth dis­
trict were 7 per cent above the sum paid in the earlier
year. Taxes on cigarettes paid to the United States
in 1930 totaled $358,946,966, of which the Fifth dis­
trict paid $313,619,650, or 87.4 per cent. On cigars,
the United States collected $19,403,235 last year, of
which the Fifth district paid only $1,399,213, or 7.2
per cent. Manufactured tobacco, including chewing
tobacco, smoking mixtures and snuff, brought in a
total to the Treasury of $66,404,510, of which the
Fifth district paid $28,866,634, or 43.5 per cent. North
Carolina was far in the lead in cigarette production
with tax payments totaling $223,168,258, Virginia rank­
ing second with payments totaling $82,042,504. North
Carolina also led in taxes paid on manufactured to­
bacco, with $22,877,093, but Ohio ranked second with
$9,915,774. The actual number of cigarettes produced
in 1930 in the United States was 119,624,910,000, of
which the Fifth district made 104,539,883,000. North
Carolina manufactured 77,192,333,000 cigarettes in
1930, and Virginia produced 27,347,501,000 cigarettes.

Agricultural Notes

January and February are between-seasons months
on farms, and little work is done, but weather condit­
ions during the past few weeks deserve mention. Last
summer’s severe drought has not yet been adequately
broken in the upper half of the Fifth district, and wells

MONTHLY REVIEW
are dry, streams are nearly as low as in the past sum­
mer, and winter grain crops need moisture very badly.
Winter crops had little snow cover during the winter,
and the ground is so dry that unless heavy rains fall
very soon the farmers will have difficulty in preparing
land for spring planting, seed will germinate poorly,
and the absence of soil moisture will make even short
dry spells next summer more than usually harmful. In
1930 crops and trees existed for some time after the
drought set in on sub-soil moisture, but this year there
is relatively little sub-soil moisture available. Rain
during the planting and growing season of 1931 will
be needed worse than it was needed last year.

Retail Trade, 37 Department Stores

Richmond Baltimore Washington Oth. Cities District
January 1931 sales, compared with sales in January 1930:
— 3.1
— 6.3
1.3
—10.8
— 3.7
Jan. 31, 1931 stocks, compared with stocks on Jan. 31, 1930:
—19.9
—10.7
—11.4
—12.3
—12.1
Jan. 31, 1931 stocks, compared with stocks on Dec. 30, 1930:
— 8.0
— 9.0
— 5.3
— 5.3
— 7.0
Number of times stock was turned in January 1931:
281
.281
.293
.184
27
Percentage of Jan. 1, 1931, receivables collected in January:
34.6_______26J5_______337_______291_______ 30.0

This month we include figures in the table on retail
trade from thirty-seven leading deip&rtment stores in
the Fifth reserve district, and we are able to show in­
dividual percentages for Richmond, which we have
been unable to do for about two years. The thirtyseven stores sold 3.7 per cent less goods, in dollar
amount, in January 1931 than they sold in January
1930, a very favorable comparison with a decline of
approximately 7 per cent reported for the United States
as a whole. Twelve of the thirty-seven reporting
stores showed larger sales figures in January this year
than in the same month last year, while twenty-five
stores failed to equal their 1930 figures.
Stocks on hand in the reporting stores at the end
of January 1931 averaged 12.1 per cent less, at selling
value, than on January 31, 1930, and also showed a
seasonal decline of 7.0 per cent from stocks as of De­
cember 30, 1930, the latter decline being due to the an­
nual January sales held by practically all department
stores. Stocks were turned an average of .27 times
during January 1931, a higher figure than .244 times
reported for January 1930.
Collections in January 1931 averaged 30.0 per cent
of outstanding receivables as of January 1, practically
the same figure as was reported for January 1930.
Richmond showed the highest percentage of collections
for this year, with Washington a close second. Bal­
timore’s collection percentage is brought down by the
inclusion of more instalment accounts than in either
Richmond or Washington.

W holesale Trade, 65 Firms

Wholesale trade in the Richmond Federal reserve
district was seasonally better in January than in De­
cember, but compared unfavorably with trade in Jan­
uary 1930. Last month four of the five lines for which
data are available showed larger sales than in Decem­
ber, shoes making the greatest gain, but all of the five




5

24

9

6

15

11

Groceries Dry Goods
Shoes
Hardware
Drugs
January 1931 sales, compared with sales in January 1930:
—19.4
—31JO
—31.9
—34.7
— 1.7
January 1931 sales, compared with sales in December 1930:
— 5.0
2.1
46.5
6.9
22.4
Jan. 31, 1931 stocks, compared with stocks on Jan. 31, 1930:
—13.4(9^) —25.4(4*) —22.4(5*) — 9.0(8*)
Jan. 31, 1931 stocks, compared with stocks on Dec. 30, 1930:
2.7(9*)
9.0(4*)
10.5(5*)
3.3(8*)
___
Percentage of Jan. 1, 1931, receivables collected in January:
57.7(14*)
34.6(6*)
31.6(6*)
28.7(12*)
57.3(8*)
♦Number of reporting firms.

lines reported lower sales than for January last year,
drugs with a decrease of only 1.7 per cent making the
best record.
Stocks increased seasonally during January and at
the end of the month were larger in all four lines for
which figures are available than at the end of Decem­
ber, but all lines showed lower stock figures than at
the end of January 1930.
January collections of receivables outstanding on the
first of that month were better than collections in Jan­
uary 1930 in shoes, but the other four lines reported
lower figures this year. All lines reported lower fig­
ures for January than for December except drugs,
which improved distinctly.

Construction
Building permits issued for new construction in
thirty-two Fifth district cities in January 1931 nunv
bered only 687, with estimated valuation totaling $2,963,709, compared with 922 permits and estimated
valuation of $8,959,493 issued for similar work in
January 1930. Permits for alterations and repairs is­
sued last month numbered 1,243, with valuation
amounting to $1,701,146, in comparison with 1,530
permits and valuation of $976,365 issued in January
last year. Combined valuation figures for all types
of construction for which (permits were issued in the
thirty-two cities in January this year totaled only $4,664,855, a decrease of $5,271,003, or 53.1 per cent,
under valuation figures totaling $9,935,858 for Jan­
uary 1930. Only seven of the thirty-two cities re­
ported higher valuation figures for January 1931 than
for January 1930, Clarksburg, W. Va., and Columbia,
S. C., reporting the only material increases this year.
Contracts awarded in January for construction work
in the Fifth reserve district totaled $21,534,475, in­
cluding both urban and rural construction, compared
with $27,432,558 for contracts awarded in January
1930, according to figures collected by the F. W. Dodge
Corporation. O f the January 1931 total, $4,493,725
represented contracts for residential types of construc­
tion, compared with $5,289,093 in contracts awarded
for residential building in January last year, a smaller
amount this year but a slightly larger percentage of
total awards.
(Compiled February 20, 1931)

MONTHLY REVIEW

6

BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF JANUARY 1931 AND 1930.
o'
fc

Permits Issued
New
Repairs

CITIES

1931 1930
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
29
30
31
32

Baltimore, Md-------Cumberland, Md.......
Frederick, Md.------Hagerstown, Md----Salisbury, Md.------Danville, Va---------Lynchburg, Va.-----Norfolk, Va..........—
Petersburg, Va..........
Portsmouth, Va.........
Richmond, Va...........
Roanoke, Va.............
Bluefield, W. Va.......
Charleston, W. Va.....
Clarksburg, W. Va......
Huntington, W.Va.—
Asheville, N.C...........
Charlotte, N. C.-----Durham, N. C.------Greensboro, N. C .....
High Point, N. C.......
Raleigh, N. C.-------Rocky Mount, N.C.....
Salisbury, N. C..........
Wilmington, N. C.----

240
4
5
6
26
1
17
53
2
12
48
5
5
22
6
10
2
16
4
6
I
1
!

1
!
Charleston, S. C.------ 1
Columbia, S. C.------Greenville, S. C.-----j
Rock Hill, S. C.
Spartanburg, S. C..... !
Washington, D. C---- j

Winston-Salem, N. C_.....

5

9
5
1
7
7
11
10
8
5
7
122

Totals.................. ! 687

382
6
7
11
24
4
7
37
2
12
61
33
1
28
7
12
3
28
14
7
5
20
10
6
10
24
10
26
11
7
8
99

1931
638
1
12
1
6
1
14
24
7
22
50
6
0
8
7
1
7
43
11
20
4
6
0
0
12
28
18
20
21
6
14
235

1930

New Construction
1931

1930

Alterations
1931

758 $ 1,048,680 $ 2,232,960
3
5,975
5,827
8
7,085
28,980
4,425
18,525
3
7
25,675
42,450
12
50
1,225
123,533
23
25,550
49
82,165
214,462
2
22,000
1,400
18,564
42,435
15
45
111,390
1,030,408
12
10,050
112,767
2
690
250
5
33,116
70,258
2
279,670
4,910
10,620
1
204,635
7,330
33
600
50,700
18
91,700
20,400
79,586
3
3,230
18
29,000
3,380
3
28000
12
4,251
116,350
2,090
2
30,440
275
0
9,490
8,000
8
24,900
31,490
35
11,680
23,085
33
7,375
318,500
21
83,700
6,000
27
58,650
5,675
15,200
7
18
9,865
17,350
345
692,480
4,311,700

$ 306,240
2,200
3,498
180
1,375
100
14,425
10,785
6,640
15,175
70,095
3,075
0
10,750
6,350
10,650
1,225
16,307
33,030
8,265
1,300
2,100
0
0
12,900
11,725
6,963
5,375
9,575
3,445
3,178
1,124,220

922 1,243 1,530 $ 2,963,709 $ 8,959,493

$1,701,146

1930

Increase or
Decrease
of
Total
Valuation

6

fc

363,840 $—1,241,880 T
848 2
1,500
— 25,742 3
7,345
— 14,360 4
440
— 23,950 5
8,550
— 5,583 6
4,508
79,323 7
33,085
32,760 — 154,272 8
26,315 9
925
6,829 — 15,525 10
38,975 — 887,898 11
60,998 — 160,640 12
85 13
525 —
2,250 — 28,642 14
279,710 15
1,400
5,000 — 188,365 16
59,550 — 65,055 17
33,310 — 58,003 18
— 31,356 19
5,200
— 24,635 20
7,130
— 25,920 21
2,600
12,485 — 122,484 22
— 32,400 23
4,050
— 9,215 24
0
5,600 — 9,600 25
19,865 26
11,670
16,408 27
6,265
224,175 28
16,000
— 52,545 29
9,470
— 8,705 30
2,625
— 7,317 31
3,010
228,470 —2,723,470 32
$ 976,365 $—5,271,003

— Denotes decrease.
NOTE—The figures in the above table reflect the amount of work provided for in the corporation limits of the sereral cities, but take no account of suburban developments.




MONTHLY REVIEW

7

BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES
(Compiled bf

Federal Reserve Board)

Industrial activity increased in January by slightly
less than the usual seasonal amount, and factory em­
ployment and pay rolls declined. Money rates in the
open market declined further from the middle of Jan­
uary to the middle of February.

Production and Employment

The Board’s index of industrial production, which is
adjusted for seasonal variation, showed a decrease of
less than 1 per cent in January, compared with declines
of 3 per cent in November and in December. Activity
in the steel industry, which was at a low level in De­
cember, increased during the following month by con­
siderably more than the usual seasonal amount; output
of automobiles, which had shown an unusual increase
in December, increased less in January than in the cor­
responding month of other recent years. The cotton
and wool textile industries were more active in Janu­
ary, while the output of copper, petroleum, and coal
declined.
The number of wage earners employed at factories
was smaller in the pay roll period ending nearest the
15th of January than in the preceding month, reflect­
ing in part extended year-end shut-downs. There were
large declines in employment at foundries and at estab­
lishments producing hosiery, women’s clothing, lumber,
brick, cement, and tobacco products; employment in
the men’s clothing, leather, and agricultural implement
industries increased somewhat more than usual for the
season. Factory* pay rolls were considerably reduced
in January.
Value of contracts awarded for residential building
continued to decline in January, according to the F. W.
Dodge Corporation, while contracts for public works
and utilities increased. In the first half of February
the daily average of contracts awarded for residential
building increased.

Distribution

Volume of freight car loadings was reduced further
in January, contrary to the usual seasonal tendency,
reflecting decreases in shipments of coal, merchandise,
and miscellaneous freight. Department store sales,




which always show a sharp reduction from December
to January, declined by less than the estimated seasonal
amount.

W holesale Prices
The general level of wholesale commodity prices de­
clined further by 2 per cent in January, according to
the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices of many lead­
ing agricultural products, and of copper, and silver
decreased substantially, while prices of cotton and silk
advanced. In the first half of February the price of
cotton continued to rise and in the middle of the month
copper also advanced, while the price of silver declined
to new low levels and prices of livestock continued to
decrease.

Bank Credit
Volume of credit at member banks in leading cities
showed little change from January 14 to February 11,
further declines of $200,000,000 in loans on securi­
ties and of $115,000,000 in all other loans being1largely
offset by an increase of $310,000,000 in the banks’
holdings of investments.
In the first three weeks of February bank suspen­
sions declined sharply and a number of banks, pre­
viously suspended, resumed operations.
Volume of reserve bank credit outstanding decreased
by $175,000,000 between the week ending January 17
and February 14, reflecting a reduction of $70,000,000
in member bank balances and $80,000,000 in money in
circulation, together with an increase of $25,000,000
in the stock of monetary gold. The principal reduction
has been in acceptance holdings of the reserve banks.

Money Rates
Money rates in the open market continued to decline
after the middle of January and by the middle of Feb­
ruary were at new low levels. The prevailing rate on
prime commercial paper declined to a range of 2j^2}i per cent; and the rate on bankers’ acceptances was
reduced to 1J4 per cent, but subsequently advanced to
1Y2 per cent.

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