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MONTHLY

REVIEW

o f Financial and Business Conditions

_

Fifth
Federal

^

Richmond© - o ft

•yA. 3
x " " iir
*4

Reserve
D is tric t

Federal Reserve Bank, Richmond, Va.

February 28, 1939

December 1938
Debits to individual accounts (24 cities)...
Number of business failures.......................... ..................
Liabilities in failures, 5th district....................................
Sales, 30 department stores, 5th district............. ...........
Sales, 195 wholesale firms, 5th district........................ .....
....................
Registrations, new passenger autos..........
Value o f bldg. permits, 31 cities........................................
Value of contracts awarded, 5th district.................. .....
Cotton consumption, 5th district (B a les)........................
Rayon Yarn Shipments, U. S. (Pounds)... ....................
Coal mined, U. S. (T o n s ).......... ......... ............................

H E seasonal recession in business in January from
the high December level was perhaps somewhat greater
this year than in most years, but the January record showed
satisfactory comparisons with January 1938 in nearly all
lines o f trade and industry. The most favorable develop­
ment last month was in construction. Building permits
issued in 31 Fifth district cities not only exceeded Decem­
ber permits by 22 per cent and January 1938 permits by
149 per cent, but reached the highest total valuation for
any month since April 1930. Contracts awarded in the
district in January declined 31 per cent from the high
December figure, but totaled 33 per cent above January
1938 contracts. Contracts for residential structures in
January this year made up 40 per cent o f all contracts,
compared with only 24 per cent for that class o f work in
January last year. This large volume of construction work
has increased employment materially in recent months and
assures work for thousands o f men for at least the first
half o f 1939. Debits to individual accounts figures, rep­
resenting for the most part commercial transactions pass­
ing through the banks in 24 Fifth district cities, declined
14 per cent in January from the December total, a greater
than seasonal decrease, but were 1 per cent higher than
debits in January 1938. Last month was the first since
November 1937 in which debits exceeded those o f the
corresponding month o f the preceding year. Commercial

T




$1,415,177,000
48
934,000
$
$ 18,301,800
$ 11,520,000
18,853
8,387,203
$
$ 38,201,000
266,650
26,200,000
36,230,000

January 1939

January 1938

$1,215,303,000
68
616,000
$
6,544,101
$
$ 11,067,000
13,771
$ 10,266,893
$ 26,203,000
287,869
27,100,000
35,530,000

$1,201,934,000
60
855,000
$
6,713,377
$
$ 10,256,000
9,916
4,125,673
$
$ 19,680,000
216,303
13,700,000
30,950,000

% Change
Mo.
Year
— 14
+ 43
— 34
— 64
— 4
—27
+ 22
— 31
+ 8
+ 3
— 2

+
1
+ 13
— 28
— 3
+ 8
+ 39
+149
+ 33
+ 33
+ 98
+ 15

failures last month were more numerous in the district
than in either December or January last year, but liabili­
ties involved were materially lower than in either of the
earlier months. The increase in insolvencies from De­
cember to January was a seasonal development. Sales o f
new automobiles last month declined seasonally from De­
cember sales by 27 per cent, but exceeded January 1938
sales by 39 per cent. Textile mills continued to run at a
level about a third higher than a year ago, and shipments
of rayon yarn, in the manufacture o f which the Fifth dis­
trict is o f great importance, were 98 per cent above ship­
ments in January 1938. Soft coal production was slightly
lower than in December, but was 15 per cent above output
in the corresponding month a year ago. Tobacco products
manufactured in January exceeded January 1938 products
in all lines. Retail trade as reflected in department store
sales dropped more than seasonally between December and
January, and in the latter month was 3 per cent below the
dollar volume o f business in January last year, but most if
not all o f this decrease was probably due to lower prices
this year in many lines. Retail sales in 37 furniture stores
last month were 6 per cent larger than January 1938 sales.
Weather in January and the first half o f February was
unusually mild on the whole, and fall planted crops made
good growth. Such farm work as is done at this season
is well advanced.

MONTHLY REVIEW

2

eserve B a n k
Statem ent:
Except for member bank
reserve deposits, which declined $19,073,000, and Federal
Reserve notes in actual circulation, which decreased seasonaly by $5,378,000, changes in the statement o f the
Federal Reserve Bank o f Richmond were small between
January 15 and February 15, 1939. Compared with fig­
ures for February 15, 1938, those for the corresponding
date this year show only minor changes except the Bank’s
cash reserves, which increased by $53,783,000 during the
year.

R

000 omitted
Jan. 15
Feb. 15
1939
1939

it e m s

Discounts held ......................................
Open Market Paper .............................
Industrial advances ...........................
Government securities .......................
Total earning assets .....................
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes ........ .
Members’ reserve deposits .................
Cash reserves ........................................
Reserve ratio ........................................

$

140
24
1,249
133,524
$134,937
196,427
229,093
361,713
73.78

$

337
24
1,466
134,019
$135,846
201,805
248,166
364,775
73.36

Feb. 15
1938
$

523
24
1,707
136,297
$138,551
195,377
222,014
307,930
69.81

S t a t e m e n t o f 41 R e p o r t i n g M e m b e r B a n k s :
The ac­
companying table shows the principal items o f condition
of 41 regularly reporting member banks in 12 Fifth dis­
trict cities. The loans and investment items as of February
15, 1939, are not quite comparable with those for January
11 this year and February 16 last year, due to a revision
in the report form, but the figures are not materially a f­
fected by the change.
000 omitted
Feb. 15
J a n .11
1939
1939

ITEMS
Loans and discounts ...........................
Investments in securities .................
Reserve bal. with F. R. b a n k ...........
Cash in vaults ......................................
Demand' deposits .................................. , .
Time deposits ........................................
Money borrowed ..........................................

$232,604
430,160
146,816
16,694
464,032
197,779
0

$238,628
425,546
166,196
20,364
474,842
196,136
0

Feb. 16
1938
$243,670
384,528
136,854
16,194
441,111
195,731
0

D e b it s t o I n d i v i d u a l A c c o u n t s :
Debits against both
demand and time deposits o f individuals, firms and cor-

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

Jan.
1939

000 omitted
Jan.
Dec.
1938
1938

% of Change
Month
Year

$ 333,709
7,015
7,312

$ 384,745
8,458
9,360

$ 333,781
6,291
7,538

— 13
— 17
— 22

Dist. of Col.
Washington

258,068

298,121

246,204

— 13

+

Virginia
Danville .............
Lynchburg .........
Newport News . . ,
Norfolk ...............
Portsmouth
....
Richmond ...........
Roanoke .............

8,331
15,041
7,982
48,237
4,065
158,338
24,753

11,792
16,439
10,411
56,963
5,414
182,564
29,305

9,396
15,281
8,208
48,509
4,089
160,986
24,308

— 29
— 9
— 23
— 15
— 25
-1 3
-1 6

— 11
— 2
— 3
— 1
— 1
— 2
+ 2

West Virginia
Charleston .........
Huntington .........

44,580
15,734

54,832
18,662

49,657
15,602

— 19
— 16

-1 0
+ 1

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

12,197
55,401
24,780
17,994
48,817
10,568
38,343

14,068
65,642
32,511
22,092
49,617
11,342
49,147

12,296
51,749
28,612
17,571
39,959
10,196
40,702

— 13
— 16
-2 4
— 19
— 2
— 7
— 22

- 1
+ 7
-1 3
+ 2
+ 22
+ 4
— 6

South Carolina
Charleston ..........
16,644
19,082
Columbia
............
27,194
31,598
Greenville ............
19,794
22,069
Spartanburg ____
10,406
10,943
District Totals . . .
$1,215,303
$1,415,177
0 indicates change of less than y2 of 1 % .

16,766
26,472
18,707
9,054
$1,201,934

-1 3
— 14
-1 0
— 5
— 14

— 1
+ 3
+ 6
+ 15
+ 1




0
+ 12
— 3
5

porations in the banks o f 24 Fifth district cities in January
1939 showed a seasonal decline o f 14 per cent from debits
in December 1938, but exceeded those for January 1938
by 1 per cent. Every city reported lower figures for Jan­
uary than for December, Raleigh with a decrease o f only
2 per cent and Spartanburg with a drop o f 5 per cent
making the best comparisons. Raleigh and Spartanburg
also registered the best comparisons over the correspond­
ing month o f the preceding year with increases o f 22 and
15 per cent, respectively.
M u t u a l S a v in g s B a n k D e p o s it s :
D ep osits in 10 m u ­
tual savings banks in B a ltim ore rose d u rin g Janu ary, but
b y som ew h a t less than u su ally o c cu rs in that m on th , and
at the end o f Ja n u a ry w e re lo w e r than dep osits a year
earlier f o r the first tim e since Ju n e 1934. S ev en o f the
10 banks sh ow ed h igh er dep osits on Ja n u a ry 31 than a
m on th earlier, and 6 h igh er fig u res than a y ear earlier.
T o ta l deposits in the 10 banks am ou n ted to $219,452,382
on Jan u ary 31, 1939, $219,160,622 on D ecem b er 31, 1938,
and $219,551,305 on Ja n u a ry 31, 1938.
m plo ym en t :
A fter the holidays, extra workers taken
on in distribution circles were released, and Old Belt fluecured tobacco markets closed in North Carolina and
Virginia on January 20, releasing some handlers and
warehouse employees. Highway work was also at a rela­
tively low level in January. On the other hand, construc­
tion work continued to increase, coal output exceeded that
of December, tobacco factories operated full time, and
textile mills consumed more cotton than in the preceding
month. A ll o f these activities gave work to additional
people or increased the number o f hours o f work per per­
son. The changes apparently resulted in a net increase in
employment in January over employment in December.
The following figures, compiled chiefly by the Bureau o f
Labor Statistics from reports furnished by a large number
o f industries, show the trends o f employment and payrolls,
exclusive o f construction, in the Fifth district from De­
cember to January, the latest available figures:

E

Percentage change from
Dec. 1938 to Jan. 1939
STATES
.....................
Dist of Columbia ............................. .....................
.....................
West Virginia ..................................
North Carolina ..................................
South Carolina ..................................

In number
on payroll
— 2.6
— 10.2
— 3.0

In amount
of payroll
—
—
—
—
—

4.3
7.5
3.9
4.7
3.3
1.5

C o m m e r c i a l F a i l u r e s : Business failures usually rise in
January over December as a result o f the pressure o f yearend settlements, and in both the Fifth district and the
United States the number o f insolvencies increased this
year, but liabilities involved declined. The number o f fail­
ures in the Fifth district in January 1939 rose 43 per cent
over those in December and 13 per cent over those in
January 1938, while failures in the United States last
month were 44 per cent above failures in December but
8 per cent below those in January last year. Liabilities
in January 1939 declined 34 per cent in the district and
48 per cent in the United States from December liabilities,
and also declined 28 per cent in the district and 11 per
cent in the Nation from January 1938 liabilities. In-

MONTHLY REVIEW
solvency figures reported by Dun & Bradstreet are as
fo llow s:
Number of Failures
District U. S.

PERIOD
January 1939 .........................
December 1938 .....................
January 1938 ................. .

68
48
60

Liabilities
U. S.

$616,000
934,000
855,000

1,263
875
1,377

Total
District

$19,122,000
36,528,000
21,415,000

A u t o m o b il e N e w C a r R e g i s t r a t i o n s : N e w p a ssen ger
au tom obiles sold in the F ift h d istrict in Ja n u a ry declin ed
27 per cen t fr o m D e ce m b e r registra tion , but this is a sea­
sonal ch a n ge. In co m p a ris o n w ith registration s in Janu ary
1938, th ose in Ja n u a ry 1939 g ain ed 39 p er cent, in creases
v a ry in g fr o m 63 p er cen t in S ou th C a rolin a d o w n to 15
per cent in the D istrict o f C olu m bia . W h ile an in crease
in au tom obile sales beg an in O c to b e r a fte r a steady de­
cline since last A p r il, the r e co v e ry has a lon g w a y to g o
to g et ba ck to 1937 figu res. F o r ex a m p le, Ja n u a ry 1939
registration fig u res, w h ile 39 per cen t h igh er than a year
a g o , w ere 28 per cen t lo w e r than th ose fo r Janu ary 1937,
ev ery state in the d istrict sh o w in g lo w e r figu res f o r the
later p eriod . T h e fo llo w in g fig u res on sales in the th ree
latest Janu arys w ere rep orted b y R. L. Polk & Co., o f
D e t r o it :

3

Coal M in in g :
Bituminous coal mines in the United
States dug 35,530,000 net tons o f coal in January 1939,
compared with 36,230,000 tons in December 1938 and
30.950.000 tons in January last year. On a daily basis,
output for January this year was 1,416,000 tons, against
1.393.000 tons in December and 1,233,000 tons in Janu­
ary 1938. Hampton Roads ports shipped 2,544,683 tons
between January 1 and February 11, 1939, compared with
2,188,454 tons shipped through the same ports in the cor­
responding period last year.
C o tton T e x t il e s :
Cotton mills in the Fifth district
consumed more cotton in January than in December, due
to operating more days. On a daily basis, however, about
4 per cent less cotton was used in January, but output of
cloth and yarn continued to exceed sales. Mill activity
was about a third greater than in January last year. Mill
margins continued relatively narrow, and prices for some
o f the more active cloth constructions declined slightly
around mid-February. Yarn prices appear somewhat stead­
ier than cloth prices. Consumption o f cotton by states in
the Fifth district in January 1939, December 1938 and
January 1938, in bales, is shown in the accompanying
table:

Registrations of New Passenger Cars
MONTHS
Jan.
1939

Maryland ...............
Dist. of Col.............
Virginia .................
West Virginia . . .
North Carolina . .
South Carolina . .
District
...........

Jan.
1938

Jan.
1937

2,486
1,282
3,041
1,423
3,609
1,930
13,771

STATES

1,648
1,115
2,441
1,124
2,404
1,184
9,916

Per Cent Change from
1938
1937

3,373
2,137
4,076
2,303
4,991
2,308
19,188

+
+
+
+
+
+
+

51
15
25
27
50
63
39

— 26
— 40
-2 5
— 38
— 28
— 16
— 28

C o n s t r u c t i o n : Construction work provided for in build­
ing permits issued and contracts awarded in January con­
tinued at the relatively high level o f the past few months.
Permits issued in 31 Fifth district cities last month totaled
$10,266,893, an increase o f 149 per cent over permits to­
taling $4,125,673 issued in January 1938, and the highest
amount for any month since April 1930. Washington led
in January 1939 valuation with $4,473,649 (U . S. Govern­
ment work not included), followed by Baltimore with
$1,360,764, Frederick with $416,899, Hagerstown with
$383,129, Asheville with $380,796, Richmond with $336,288, and N orfolk with $284,928. Twenty-three o f the 31
cities reported higher figures than for January 1938.

Contracts awarded for all types o f construction in the
Fifth district, including both rural and urban projects,
totaled $25,613,000, an increase o f 32 per cent over $19,438,000 in January 1938. O f total awards, 40 per cent
represented residential construction in January 1939 and
only 24 per cent in January 1938. Contract award figures
by states, as reported by F. W . D odge Corporation, were
as fo llo w s:
Construction Contracts Awarded
STATES
Maryland
...................
Dist. of Col...................
Virginia
.....................
West Virginia ...........
North C arolin a...........
South C a rolin a...........
Fifth District . . .

January 1939

* Contains a few contracts outside Fifth




January 1938

%

Change

$ 6,969,000
$ 2,935,000
+137
3,583,000
1,565,000
+129
4,869,000
8,736,000
— 44
4,074,000*
1,684,000*
+142
4,163,000
2,839,000
+ 47
2,545,000___________ 1,921,000_________ + 32
$26,203,000
$19,680,000
+ 33
District.

January 1939 ...............
December 1938 .............
January 1938 ...............

No. Carolina

So. Carolina

Virginia

District

157,469
145,327
116,448

118,879
112,245
89,303

11,521
9,078
10,552

287,869
266,650
216,303

R ayon :
Deliveries o f rayon filament yarn to domes­
tic consumers in January 1939 amounted to 27,100,000
pounds, compared with 26,200,000 pounds in December
and only 13,700,000 pounds in January 1938, according
to the February Rayon Organon. Rayon yarn stocks at
the end o f January totaled 39,700,000 pounds, about the
same as on December 31 but much less than 59,900,000
pounds in stock on January 31, 1938. In a study o f fiber
consumption in the United States in recent years, the
Organon shows that the poundage o f rayon used exceeded
silk in 1927 and every year since, and in 1938 exceeded
wool for the first time. For every pound o f rayon (yarn
plus staple fiber) used in the United States in 1938, there
were consumed 8.9 pounds o f cotton, 0.87 pounds o f wool,
0.15 pounds o f silk, and 0.06 pounds o f linen.
C otton :
Spot cotton prices moved through a narrow
range during the past month, and on February 17 aver­
aged 8.50 cents for middling grade upland cotton on 10
Southern markets, compared with 8.49 cents per pound
on January 13. On February 18, 1938, the average price
on the 10 markets was 9.01 cents. Cotton held by the
Commodity Credit Corporation from the 1938 and earlier
crops now amounts to about 11,200,000 bales. Exports
o f cotton in January were very small, shipments to every
foreign customer nation being less than in January last
year. During the 6 months ended January 31, exports
declined 43 per cent below exports in the corresponding
period ended January 31, 1938, shipments to Great Britain,
which declined 76 per cent, accounting for more than half
the recession.

MONTHLY REVIEW
Cotton Consumed and On Hand

P E A N U T P R O D U C T IO N

(Bales)
Jan.
1939
Fifth district states:
Cotton consumed ...................
Cotton growing states:
Cotton consumed ...................
Cotton on hand Jan. 31 in
Consuming establishments
Storage & compresses . . .
United States:
Cotton consumed ...................
Cotton on hand Jan. 31 in
Consuming establishments
Storage & compresses . . .
Exports of cotton .....................
Spindles active, U. S.................

Jan.
1938

Aug. 1 to Jan. 31
This Year Last Year

287,869

216,303

1,636,488

1,511,593

502,872

372,173

2,875,041

2,627,013

1,409,717 1,489,088
14,721,305 11,727,709
591,991

433,258

. 1,626,593 1,758,696
. 14,782,233 11,815,365
289,514
647,481
. 22,440,278 22,325,472

................................
................................
3,391,808

3,077,672

................................
................................
2,192,285 3,832,247
................................

Most tobacco in the Fifth district
was sold before January this year, and the remaining fluecured markets closed on January 20. Fire-cured markets
in Virginia, and the sun-cured market at Richmond, re­
mained open into February, and total season sales o f all
grades o f tobacco will not be available until next month.
T obacco M a r k e t i n g :

Bureau o f Internal Rev­
enue reports tobacco products manufactured in January
1939 and 1938 as follow s:

T obacco M a n u f a c t u r in g : T h e

Jan. 1938

Jan. 1939
Smoking & Chewing
Tobacco, Pounds
Cigarettes, Number .
Cigars, Number .........
Snuff, Pounds ...........

% Change

23,354,516
13,058,452,906
328,574,263
2,925,067

23,716,059
13,862,907,070
349,497,329
3,197,751

+2

+6
+6
+ 9

R e t a il T r ad e in D e p a r t m e n t S to res :
Net Sales
Jan. 1939
comp, with
January
1938
Richmond (3) ...............
Baltimore (8) .............
Washington (6) ...........
Other Cities (13) .........
District (30) ...........

— .1
— 7.3
+ .5
— 1.0
— 2.5

Same stores by States,
with 22 stores added:
Virginia (12) .............
West Virginia (9) . . .
North Carolina (8) . . .
South Carolina (8)

Stocks
Jan. 31, 1939
comp. with
Jan. 31
Dec. 31
1938
1938
— 1.0
+ -7
+ .5
+ 3.1
+ .6

— 6.0
— 7.3
— 5.0
+ 6.5
— 4.8

Ratio Jan.
collections
to accounts
outstanding
January 1
33.4
34.3
28.8
30.2
31.2

— .7
— 2.4
+ 3.5
+ .6

R e t a il F u r n it u r e S a l e s :
Jan. 1939 sales,
comp, with Jan. 1938

sta te s

-

Maryland, 8 stores ..................................
Dist. of Col., 6 stores ..............................
Virginia, 10 stores ..................................
West Virginia, 2 stores .......................
North Carolina, 4 stores ......................
South Carolina, 7 stores .......................
Fifth District, 37 stores ...................

W h o lesale T rade,

l in e s

Automotive Supplies (7)
Shoes (5) .......................
Drugs (11) .....................
Dry Goods (7) .............
Electrical Goods (17) .
Groceries (68) ...............
Hardware (22) .............
Industrial Supplies (12)
Pl’mb’g & Heating (6)
Paper & Products (8) .
Tobacco & Prod’cts (10)
Miscellaneous (22) . . .
Average, 195 firms..

195

3%

+ 6
+ 25

—

11

+ 2
6
+ 6

F ir m s :

(In thousands of Pounds)

Stocks
Net Sales
Ratio Jan.
January 1939
Jan. 31, 1939
collections
compared with
to accounts
compared with
Dec. Jan. 31
Dec. 31 outstanding
Jan.
1938
1938
Jan. 1
1938
1938
+ 36
+ 44
+ 2
— 5
+ 35
— 1
-f* 1
+ 17
+ 17
+ 8
+ 9
+ 3
+ 8

— 32
+ 122
— 1
— 10
— 20
— 2
+
8
+
2
— 14
+
1
— 15
— 18
— 4

— 4
+ 5
— 3
— 20
— 23
— 12
— 1
— 4
— 16
— 11
+ 2
— 2
- 8

+ 18
+ 61
— 2
+ 23
— 2
+ 2
+ 2
4-29
+ 5
— 4
+ 1
— 1
+ 9

Note: Wholesale figures from the Department of Commerce.




Peanuts are a minor crop in the United States as a
whole, but in coastal counties o f Virginia and North
Carolina the crop is o f considerable importance. The pea­
nut is not grown north o f Virginia, and grows best in the
light soils o f the southeastern coastal plain. Production
of peanuts in the United States averaged 1,039,469,000
pounds in the years 1927-1936, and the Fifth district
states o f Virginia and the two Carolinas accounted for
382,787,000 pounds, or 37 per cent, o f National produc­
tion. The United States crop is usually worth approxi­
mately $38,000,000, varying according to yield and reserve
supply.
In Virginia the leading peanut county is Southampton,
with about 34 per cent o f the state total, followed by
Nansemond with 16 per cent, Isle o f W ight with 14 per
cent, and Sussex with 12 per cent. These four counties,
with the addition o f Surry, Greenville, Prince George and
Dinwiddie, account for 98 per cent o f the average V ir­
ginia crop o f 145,288,000 pounds.
North Carolina grows about 60 per cent more peanuts
than Virginia, average production from 1927 to 1936, in­
clusive, having been 228,960,000 pounds, o f which 6 coun­
ties accounted for 73 per cent. Northampton led with 18
per cent, followed by Bertie with 15 per cent, H alifax
with 14 per cent, H ertford with 10 per cent, and Edge­
combe and Martin with 8 per cent each. As in Virginia,
all important peanut growing counties in North Carolina
are in the coastal plain.
South Carolina's peanut crop, averaging 8,539,000
pounds, is grown in Aiken, H orry and Orangeburg coun­
ties chiefly, with lesser yields reported in Florence and
Colleton.
In addition to growing more than a third o f the Nation’s
peanuts, the Fifth district leads in conversion o f the nuts
into marketable form. Several plants at Suffolk, Va.,
Norfolk, Va., and Scotland Neck, N. C., manufacture
many candy and food products from peanuts, and give
steady employment to several thousand workers. Peanuts
can be marketed in a great many forms, and can be con­
verted into a wide variety o f products. Even the shells
are made into insulation boards, and the vines are used
for hay. The nuts are sold in the shell, in salted form,
as peanut butter, and as peanut oil. Peanuts are made into
many kinds o f candy, chiefly in combination with choco­
late. W hile not yet done commercially, peanuts can be
made into plastics o f various kinds.
Peanut production in the Fifth district and the United
States during each o f the past 17 years and average pro­
duction in 1927-1936 is shown in the table:

84
57
98
42
71
93
46
55
53
55
87
68
66

Va.

Years
1927-1936 .
1938 ...........
1937 ...........
1936 ...........
1935 ...........
1934 ...........
1933 ...........
1932 ...........
1931 ..........
1930 ...........
1929 ...........
1928 ..........
1927 ...........
1926 ...........
1925 ...........
1924 ...........
1923 ...........
1922 ...........

.

.
.
„
.

N. C.

S. C.

5th Dist.

U. S.

% in
Dist.

145,288
146,010
183,465
152,280
154,350
146,000
111,150
154,080
176,320
99,360
157,590
141,056
123,120
136,620
143,520
78,000
122,760
78,000

228,960
249,075
297,500
250,800
258,750
264,000
182,400
276,420
308,560
196,200
234,600
215,250
216,558
185,400
212,750
177,450
162,800
121,800

8,539
9,100
8,030
8,160
9,520
9,600
9,520
10,240
9,100
8,400
7,350
9,660
11,625
5,400
4,73'0
14,300
30,400
27,360

382,787
404,185
488,995
411,240
422,620
419,600
303,070
440,740
493,980
303,960
399,540
365,966
351,303
327,420
361,000
269,750
315,960
227,160

1,039,469
1,424,825
1,320,675
1,336,600
1,302,805
1,063,035
905,710
1,037,840
1,097,930
747,085
956,448
936,585
933,465
759,715
791,355
811,955
598,172
594,840

36.8
28.4
37.0
30.8
32.4
39.5
33.5
42.5
45.0
40.7
41.8
39.1
37.6
43.1
45.6
33.2
52.8
38.2

(Compiled February 21, 1939)

MONTHLY REVIEW, February 28, 1939

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

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

Industrial production increased less than seasonally in January and the
first three w eeks o f Febru ary, fo llo w in g a rapid advance in the latter h alf o f
1938. W holesale com m odity prices continued to show little change.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

PRODUCTION

Index of physical volume of production, ad­
justed for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average=
100. By months, January 1934 to January 1939.
FACTORY EMPLOYMENT

In January volum e o f industrial production, as m easured b y the B oa rd’ s
seasonally adju sted index, was at 101 per cen t o f the 1923-1925 average as
com pared w ith 104 in D ecem ber. A t steel m ills, w here activity usually increases
considerably at this season, output in January and the first three w eeks o f F eb ­
ruary w as at about the same rate as in D ecem ber.
A u tom obile production
declined seasonally in the first tw o m onths o f the year as retail sales show ed
about the usual decrease and dealers’ stocks reached adequate levels. O utput
o f cem ent declined in January, and there w as also som e redu ction in output o f
lum ber and plate glass. In the nondurable g ood s industries, w here produ ction
had been at a high level in D ecem ber, activity in creased less than seasonally.
Increases at cotton , silk, and tob a cco fa ctories w ere sm aller than usual and at
w oolen mills there was a decline. Shoe p rodu ction and sugar refining continued
in substantial volum e, and activity at m eat-packin g establishm ents show ed little
change, fo llo w in g a decline in D ecem ber. M ineral p rodu ction increased som e­
w hat in January, reflectin g an increase in output o f crude petroleum .
V alue o f construction contracts aw arded declined in January, a ccord in g
to F. W . D odge C orporation figures, ow in g principally to a redu ction in aw ards
fo r publicly-financed projects, w hich had been in large volum e in D ecem ber.
C ontracts f o r privately-financed residential bu ildin g continu ed at the recen t
advanced level, while aw ards fo r private n onresidential bu ildin g rem ained in
small volum e.

EMPLOYMENT

Index of number employed, adjusted for season­
al variation, 1923-1925 average=100. By months,
January 1934 to January 1939.
MONEY RATES IN NEW YORK C ITY

F a ctory em ploym ent and payrolls show ed the usual decline betw een the
m iddle o f D ecem ber and the m iddle o f January. In m ost individual industries,
as w ell as in the total, changes in the num ber o f em ployees w ere o f ap prox i­
m ately seasonal proportions. In trade, em ploym ent declined som ew hat m ore
than is usual a fter Christmas.

DISTRIBUTION
Sales at departm ent and variety stores and b y m ail order houses show ed
the usual sharp seasonal decline fro m D ecem ber to January. In the first tw o
weeks o f F ebru ary departm ent store sales continu ed at the January level.
V olum e o f freigh t-ca r loadings in January and the first h a lf o f F ebru ary
was at abou t the same rate as in D ecem ber.

COMMODITY PRICES

1934

1935

1936

1937

1938

1939

For weeks ending January 6, 1934, to February
18, 1939.

W h olesale com m odity prices generally continu ed to show little change in
January and the first three w eeks o f Febru ary. Grain prices declined som ewhat,
follow in g a rise in D ecem ber, w hile prices o f hogs in creased seasonally. Changes
in prices o f industrial m aterials w ere small.

BANK CREDIT
MEMBER BANK RESERVES AND RELATED ITEMS

E xcess reserves o f m em ber banks, w hich reached a re co rd high level o f
$3,600,000,000 on January 25, declined som ew hat in F ebru ary.
This decline
resulted chiefly from a tem pora ry increase in T reasu ry balances w ith the R e­
serve banks representing cash receipts fr o m the sale o f the new U nited States
H ousing A u th ority and R econ stru ction F in an ce C orporation notes. Purchases
o f these notes w ere also responsible f o r an increase in total loans and invest­
ments o f reportin g m em ber banks in 101 leadin g cities, fo llo w in g a decline
during January.

MONEY RATES

Wednesday figures, January 3, 1934, to Febru­
ary 21, 1939.




A v era ge yields on U nited States G overnm ent securities declined fu rth er
during the first three w eeks o f F ebru ary to about the low est levels ever reached.
N ew issues o f 91-day Treasury bills, a fte r selling at par or at a slight prem ium
in late D ecem ber and early January, w ere again on a slight discount basis during
F ebruary. O ther open-m arket rates continu ed unchanged.

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