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MONTHLY REVIEW
CREDIT, BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W.

H O X T O N , CHAIRMAN AND FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA__________________________________________ JANUARY 31, 1931
STATISTICAL SUMMARY
Debits to Individual Accounts (24 Cities)___________ ---------Number of Commercial Failures, Sth District_________
Liabilities Involved in Failures, 5th District_________ ---------Cotton Consumption, 5th District Mills (Bales)______
Cotton Grown in Fifth District (Bales)____________
Tobacco Grown in Fifth District (Pounds)__________
Farm Value, All Crops in Fifth District_____________ ----------------Building Permits for New Work (32 Cities)_________
Value of Permits for New Work (32 Cities)_________ ----------------Value of Contracts Awarded, 5th District____________----------------Total Sales, 34 Department Stores, 5th District_______ ---------------Total Sales, 66 Wholesale Firms in 5 Lines__________ ----------------Bituminous Coal Production, U. S. (Tons)___________

1930
$15,588,979,000
1,572
$
32,806,719
2,375,299
1,877,000
741,721,000
$ 544,949,000
12,653
83,454,134
$
$ 352,912,092
$ 108,545,598
59,324766
$
461,630,000

1929
$16,851,269,000
1,420
24,705,654
$
3,039,884
1,625,000
726,748,000
$ 737,887,000
16,420
105,060,685
$
$ 385,963,047
$ 112,070,045
66,291,736
$
534,989,000

Trade in the Fifth Federal reserve district in De­ ber 10, 1930, but lacked 6.2 per cent of equaling the
cember and early January was about on seasonal level, total of debits in the five weeks ended January IS,
in comparison with the volume of business during the 1930, when the general price level was distinctly higher
past few months. There was a natural increase in than at present. Savings deposits in Baltimore mutual
retail trade over earlier months of the fall and winter, savings banks showed some increase in December, but
and on the whole the holiday business was probably time deposits in reporting member banks declined.
up to expectations. Sales in December 1930 in thirty- Commercial Jailujes in the Fifth district in December
four Fifth district department stores were 4.1 per cent shojved an increase fr/er those of November in both
less than sales in December 1929, but at least part of nij.n%>ef arid*ifebiihtes# ixvvch*ed* and also exceeded the
the decline was due to price changes. The tensionr * ferifafes reported in Decem£er*I$29. Employment conaffecting banking in certain localities eased consid­ / tlitiojis made no improvement ituOecember and early
erably after the end of the year, and bank statements* ' Janiiary/buV on tHer Contrary* the jiumber of people
at the end of December indicated that an unds,ua!iy unatHfi. .o obtain t^erk was probably increased by un­
large number of banks are in a more liquid cpncHtfon favorable weather for outside work; »«Coal production
than is normally the case. Member banks r&iuced* showed ar dccline fn tteiiy* toopage in comparison with
considerably below
their rediscounts at the reserve bank between the mid-; Noyembsr tonngg£l# gnc
output ot £)ecember 1929. Textile mills reported
die of December and the middle of January, and the* the “
circulation of Federal reserve notes declined seasonally no further progress in December, but continued to
after Christmas demands for currency had passed. operate at about the rate of the two preceding months,
Member banks reduced their outstanding loans, a nor­ when some increase in running time was noted. Cot­
mal development at this season when liquidation of ton prices firmed up nearly half a cent a pound dur­
agricultural and commercial indebtedness is under way. ing the first half of January, after touching the lowest
Reporting banks continued to carry more cash in their level in fifteen years at the middle of December. To­
vaults than they usually keep on hand. Debits to indi­ bacco markets reported large sales for December, but
vidual accounts figures during the five weeks ended prices were far below those of the preceding year,
January 14, 1931, showed a seasonal increase of 2.3 partly due to the large percentage of inferior grades
per cent over debits for the five weeks ended Decem­ in the 1930 tobacco crop. Building permits issued last




2

MONTHLY REVIEW

month in the leading cities of the Fifth district dropped
to the lowest level in several years, both in number and
estimated valuation, but, on the other hand, construc­
tion contracts actually awarded in the district, includ­
ing rural as well as city projects, were considerably
higher than those of either November 1930 or De­
cember 1929. Wholesale trade in December compared
unfavorably with the business done in December a
year ago.
At the top of this month’s Review we present a
statistical summary of some of the leading activities
of the Fifth district in 1930 and 1929. Most of the
figures for 1930 compare unfavorably with those for
1929. Debits figures for last year totaled 7.5 per cent
less than debits in 1929, department store sales declined
3.1 per cent, wholesale trade in five leading lines de­
creased 10.5 per cent, and contracts awarded for con­
struction work in the district declined 8.6 per cent.
However, all of these decreases were due in part to
lower price levels in 1930. Commercial failures in­
creased last year in both number and liabilities involved.
Production of the district’s two leading money crops,
cotton and tobacco, exceeded production of the pre­
vious year, but the income derived from them was
considerably smaller in 1930 because of much lower
prices. While the decline in construction work in
1930 was marked, and played a leading part in in­
creasing unemployment, the two most serious factors
which adversely affected the district in 1930 were the
record drought in the upper half of the district and
the drastic slump in cotton and tobacco prices. If the
Carolinas had received 1928 or 1929 prices for their
1930 crops, they would have been very favorably situ­
ated, and better prices would have alleviated, to some
extent at least, the disastrous effects of last summer’s
drought in Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia.

Reserve Bank Statement
ITEMS

Jan. IS
1931

000 omitted
Dec. 15 Jan. IS
1930
1930

market paper by $4,412,000, but increased its holdings
of Government securities by $5,000,000. The several
changes in assets resulted in a net decline of $13,119,000 in total earning assets during the month. The
volume of Federal reserve notes in actual circulation
declined seasonally last month, being $15,672,000 lower
on January 15, 1931, than on December 15, 1930. No
change of importance occurred in member bank reserve
deposits during the month. The changes in the items
enumerated, with others of less importance, lowered
the cash reserves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Rich­
mond by $5,523,000 between December 15 and Janu­
ary 15, but the ratio of cash reserves to note and deposit
liabilities combined rose 1.60 points.
A comparison of the condition figures as of January
15 this year with those for the corresponding date a
year earlier shows reductions during the year in total
earning assets and member bank reserve deposits, but
the circulation of Federal reserve notes, cash reserves,
and the reserve ratio were all higher on the 1931 date.
It should be understood, however, that the figures men­
tioned reflect the condition of the Bank on the report
dates only, and are not necessarily the highest or lowest
figures that occurred between the dates used. Redis­
counts for member banks totaled $6,586,000 less
on January 15, 1931, than on January 15, 1930, and
open market paper held showed a decrease of $4,352,000
in the same period, but these declines were partly offset
by an increase of $7,359,000 in Government security
holdings. The net decrease in total earning assets was
$3,579,000. The circulation of Federal reserve notes
on January 15 this year was higher by $4,196,000 than
at the middle of January last year. Member bank re­
serve deposits declined $3,222,000 during the year
under review, lower reserves being required on re­
duced deposits in member banks. The total of cash
reserves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
on January 15, 1931, was higher by $7,589,000, and
the ratio of reserves to note and deposit liabilities
combined was higher by 3.65 points, than the corres­
ponding figures on January 15, 1930.

Member Bank Statement

Rediscounts held .........r$ 23,332
$ 29,918
Open market paper.-------------- • A * *
11,736
000 omitted
9,902
Government securities-----ITEMS
Jan. 14 Dec. 10 Jan. IS
Total earning assets....«.%...~~*.v 47&7
1931
1930
1930
86,3/jS ;
Circulation of Fed. Res.'j&tes**.* 90,569 106,241
64,1lV ,
60,892
60,578
Members* reserve deposits**.—
Cash reserves---- ---------------- n g jo v
: 105,916 ••£<3a&6 on stocks and bonds (inReserve ra tio __ ____________ V 5271. m
•.eluding Governments) _____
, • ••♦69.06 Al\otfiefc loans_____________ $171,538 $171,397 $188,682
274,979 289,272 309,650
. TotflJ'tfoans and discounts---- 446,517 460,669 498,332
Reserve Bank of RichAofid ?detlittetf:by: $^3,7($7*,§0p: ; Total inv. in stocks and bonds... 177,324 182,401 153,199
between December 1 ^ 4 $ $ ^
36,691
38,367
39,709
• Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank._
14,286
14,058
11,481
partly due to seasonal liquidation of agricultural ‘in­ Cash in vaults...
334,505 344,875 352,924
debtedness but chiefly due to a lessening of the tension Demand deposits__
caused by bank failures in November and December, Time deposits-------------------- 241,731 245,375 235,410
14,042
6,700
14,258
Borrowed from Fed. Res. Bank.

which influenced some member banks to rediscount at
the reserve bank in order to strengthen their cash
positions. The marked increase in rediscounted paper
in late November and early December was an unusual
development at that season, and the decline between
December 15 and January 15 was a return to more
nearly normal conditions. During the month under
review, the reserve bank decreased its portfolio of open




The accompanying table shows the principal items
of condition of fifty-four regularly reporting member
banks in the Fifth reserve district as of three dates,
thus affording an opportunity for comparison of the
latest available figures with those of the corresponding
dates a month and a year earlier, but it should be
understood that the figures shown reflect the condition

MONTHLY REVIEW
on the report dates only, and are not necessarily the
highest or lowest figures that occurred during the
periods under discussion.
During the month between December 10 and Janu­
ary 14, total loans and discounts held by the fifty-four
reporting banks declined by $14,152,000, all of the
decrease occurring in agricultural and commercial
loans. A decrease in loans at the end of the year is
seasonal. The reporting banks also reduced their in­
vestments in stocks and bonds, by $5,077,000, and
lowered their reserve deposits at the reserve bank by
$1,676,000. Their cash in vaults showed no material
change, but was slighly higher on January 14 than a
month earlier. Aggregate deposits in the reporting
institutions declined approximately $14,000,000 last
month, demand deposits falling by $10,370,000 and
time deposits by $3,644,000. A reduction in outstand­
ing loans naturally brought an accompanying reduction
in deposits, and lower deposits in turn reduced the re­
serve requirements. Rediscounts of the fifty-four
banks at the Federal reserve bank were reduced by

3

$7,342,000 during the past month.
A comparison of January 14, 1931, figures with
those for January 15, 1930, shows total loans out­
standing to be $51,815,000 less this year, loans on se­
curities declining $17,144,000 and all other loans de­
creasing $34,671,000. On the other hand, the invest­
ments in securities held by the fifty-four reporting
banks rose by $24,125,000 during the year, and on
January 14 this year the banks were borrowing $7,558,000 less at the Federal reserve bank than on January
15 last year. Although time deposits in the reporting
banks rose by $6,321,000 during the past year, a decline
of $18,419,000 in demand deposits more than offset
the gain and brought a net deposit decline of $12,098,000. Aggregate reserve balances of the fifty-four
reporting banks at the Federal reserve bank declined
$3,018,000 between January 15, 1930, and January 14,
1931, partly due to lower requirements on reduced de­
posits, but cash in vaults totaled $2,805,000 more on
the 1931 date.

DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS
CITIES
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, V a .----------Newport News, Va.------Norfolk, Va. _________
Portsmouth, Va-----------Raleigh, N. C_________
Richmond, Va. ----------Roanoke, V a .-------------Spartanburg, S. C--------Washington, D. C.—____
Wilmington, N. C.--------Winston-Salem, N. C---District Total ______

Total Debits During the Five Weeks Ended
Dec. 10, 1930
Jan. 15, 1930
Jan. 14, 1931
$

15,465,000
494,672,000
22.170.000
56.016.000
50.722.000
46.426.000
10.149.000
10.134.000
29.783.000
26.133.000
19.453.000
10.538.000
25.099.000
23.496.000
14.228.000
68.099.000
5,449,000
34.453.000
168.447.000
34.333.000
15.125.000
288.136.000
17.014.000
40.097.000

$1,525,637,000

$

19,473,000
509,158,000
23.370.000
45.431.000
52.920.000
29.512.000
10.527.000
12.941.000
32.114.000
23.284.000
20.416.000
10.455.000
23.615.000
21.331.000
14.586.000
63.765.000
6,415,000
24.072.000
171.416.000
36.687.000
14.449.000
271.170.000
15.028.000
39.379.000

$ 31,526,000
506,345,000
30.650.000
59.447.000
66.596.000
33.676.000
10.912.000
13.613.000
33.005.000
28.185.000
27.823.000
12.567.000
29.381.000
26.221.000
14.117.000
71.755.000
5,815,000
131.222.000
172.596.000
40.901.000
19.885.000
290.373.000
22.087.000
47.916.000

$ 298,131,000
5.165.821.000
290.223.000
502.862.000
582.145.000
303.263.000
112.145.000
98.781.000
321.971.000
257.023.000
218.680.000
116,180,000
251.691.000
231.174.000
138.258.000
681.618.000
58,573,000
287.663.000
1.655.672.000
365.827.000
144.674.000
2.899.966.000
170.001.000
436.637.000

$ 359,603,000
5.213.517.000
311.091.000
520.814.000
712.645.000
298.498.000
122.986.000
117.541.000
365.631.000
298.587.000
271.800.000
135.037.000
282.341.000
245.153.000
131.734.000
777.358.000
64,673,000
300.057.000
1.771.945.000
390.311.000
177.427.000
3.252.732.000
215.279.000
514.509.000

$1,491,514,000

$1,626,614,000

$15,588,979,000

$16,851,269,000

The accompanying table shows debits to individual,
firm and corporation accounts in the clearing house
banks of twenty-four trade centers in the Fifth Fed­
eral reserve district, three equal periods of five weeks
being given to allow for comparison of the latest avail­
able figures with those of the preceding like period and
the corresponding period a year ago. In addition, total
debits are shown by cities and the district for the
calendar years 1930 and 1929.
Debits figures for the five weeks ended January 14,
1931, totaled $1,525,637,000, an increase of $34,123,000,
or 2.3 per cent, over $1,491,514,000 reported for the
preceding like period, ended December 10, 1930. This
increase was seasonal, due to large figures on and
around January 1, but the increase this year was less




ANNUAL TOTALS
1930
1929

than in most years. Of the twenty-four reporting
cities, exactly half reported larger and half reported
smaller totals for the later period, the increases slightly
more than offsetting the decreases. Columbia and
Raleigh showed the largest gains, but both were due
chiefly to State government transactions. Among the
largest cities, Washington and Norfolk showed gains
for the period ended January 14, but Baltimore, Char­
lotte and Richmond reported lower figures.
In comparison with debits aggregating $1,626,614,000
reported for five weeks ended January 15, 1930, this
year’s figures for the corresponding period show a
decline of $100,977,000, or 6.2 per cent. Only three
cities, Columbia, Newport News and Raleigh, reported
higher figures for the current period.

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

Total debits in the twenty-four reporting cities for
1930 showed a decrease of $1,262,290,000, or 7.5 per
cent, in comparison with debits in 1929. Columbia and
Newport News were the only cities reporting higher
figures for the later year, Columbia's increase being
due to State transfers in connection with an extensive
road construction program. Newport News is the only
city which reported higher figures because of a larger
volume of ordinary business.

Savings and Time Deposits
Savings deposits in twelve mutual savings banks in
Baltimore increased slightly during December, prob­
ably due to the crediting of interest at the year's end.
Deposits on December 31 totaled $198,794,363, com­
pared with $198,623,483 on November 30 and $189,048,745 on December 31, 1929. It is interesting to
note that during 1930, when there was much unem­
ployment, deposits in the twelve Baltimore savings
banks rose by $9,745,618, while in 1929, a much more
favorable year, deposits in the same institutions rose
only $1,887,273. Time deposits in fifty-four regu­
larly reporting member banks did not follow last month
the upward movement of mutual savings deposits, but
declined from $245,375,000 on November 30 to $241,731.000 on December 31. The December 31, 1930,
figure was higher than time deposits totaling $235,410.000 in the same banks on December 31, 1929.

Commercial Failures
Business failures usually increase in December as a
result of the pressure of year-end settlements, and the
Fifth district showed this tendency last month. Insol­
vencies in the district numbered 139 in December,
compared with 121 in November, and last month's
liabilities totaling $3,131,419 compared even more un­
favorably with liabilities totaling $1,718,380 in No­
vember. The December 1930 figures also compared
unfavorably with those for December 1929, when there
were 116 insolvencies with liabilities aggregating
$2,032,894.
The year 1930 witnessed 1,572 commercial failures
in the Fifth reserve district, with liabilities totaling
$32,806,719. These figures show increases of 10.7
per cent and 32.8 per cent, respectively, over 1,420
failures and liabilities totaling $24,705,654 in 1929.
The number of insolvencies last year was less than
those of 1927 and 1922, but exceeded those of all other
years since the World War. Last year's liabilities, how­
ever, compared much more favorably with earlier years,
being less than the liabilities reported in seven of the
preceding eleven years. The four years which showed
lower liabilities than 1930 were 1929, 1926, 1920 and
1919.

Employment
There was no marked change in employment condi­
tions in the Fifth reserve district in December and
early January, although unfavorable weather for out­
door work probably increased the number of idle work­
ers to some extent. Building operations continued to
lag behind other recent years, and the industries of the
district did not experience improved demand for their




products. Wage reductions have been made in some
instances, chiefly in attempts to hold working forces
together without too serious financial loss until con­
ditions improve, but on the whole wages have been
held to previous levels. The textile strike in Danville
continues, being now in its fourth month, but the mills
involved are operating to some extent with non-union
labor.

Coal Production
Bituminous coal production in the United States in
December totaled 39,716,000 net tons, a higher figure
than 38,122,000 tons mined in November, but on a
daily basis December showed a decline from the output
of the earlier month. In December 1929, production
of soft coal totaled 47,046,000 net tons. Total pro­
duction for the year 1930 was approximately 461,630,000 net tons, compared with 534,989,000 tons
mined in 1929. Shipments of coal through Hampton
Roads in December totaled approximately 1,957,010
tons, and total shipments from January 1 through De­
cember 31 totaled 21,617,921 tons.
The December 20 report of the Bureau of Mines,
Department of Commerce, gave bituminous coal pro­
duction by states for the month of November. West
Virginia continued in second place with 9,358,000 tons,
Pennsylvania ranking first with an output of 9,730,000
tons.

Textiles
There was no material change in conditions in the
textile field in the Fifth district during December.
Cotton consumed in the district in December totaled
184,815 bales, of which North Carolina mills used
97,862 bales, South Carolina mills 82,156 bales, and
Virginia mills 4,797 bales. These figures show a
seasonal decrease in comparison with consumption in
November, the mills usually closing several days at
Christmas. In November 1930 the mills in the Carolinas and Virginia consumed 191,245 bales, and in
December 1929 they used 202,317 bales. Total con­
sumption in 1930 amounted to 2,375,299 bales, a de­
crease of 21.86 per cent under 3,039,884 bales con­
sumed in 1929. Every month since October 1929
showed a lower consumption figure than the figure for
the corresponding month of the preceding year. Con­
sumption of cotton in the Richmond reserve district in
December 1930 totaled 45.5 per cent of National con­
sumption, compared with 46.1 per cent in November
1930 and 44.7 per cent in November 1929.

Cotton Statistics
Cotton prices reached the lowest figure in fifteen
years at the middle of December, declining to an aver­
age of 8.88 cents per pound on ten Southern spot mar­
kets on December 19. However, the price turned
upward after that date, and gradually rose to an aver­
age of 9.29 cents on January 16, the latest date for
which quotations are available. The average price on
January 17, 1930, the corresponding date a year ago,
was 16.80 cents per pound, approximately $37.50 a
bale higher than this year's price.

MONTHLY REVIEW
Cotton consumption in American mills in December
totaled 406,207 bales, according to the report of the
Bureau of the Census made public on January 14.
This figure shows a seasonal decrease from 414,887
bales consumed during the month of November, and
is 10.3 per cent less than 452,685 bales consumed in
December 1929. Total consumption during the five
months of the present cotton year amounted to 2,012,244
bales, compared with 2,738,185 bales consumed during
the five months ended December 31, 1929. Cotton on
hand at manufacturing establishments on December 31,
1930, totaled 1,659,432 bales, compared with 1,566,854
bales held on November 30, 1930, and 1,841,079 bales
held on December 31, 1929. Bales in public ware­
houses and compresses numbered 8,377,720 at the end
of December, against 8,397,800 at the end of Novem­
ber, and 5,898,596 on December 31, 1929. Exports of
cotton totaled 765,835 bales in December, compared
with 907,649 bales sent abroad in November 1930 and
910,321 bales in December 1929. Imports last month
totaled 4,461 bales, compared with 3,409 bales imported
in November and 36,190 bales in December 1929.
Consumption of cotton in the cotton growing states
totaled 322,136 bales in December, compared with
353,072 bales used in December 1929. Last month’s
consumption in the cotton growing states amounted to
79.30 per cent of National consumption, compared with
78.00 per cent of National consumption used in the
cotton growing states in December a year ago. Of
the 322,136 bales consumed in the cotton growing
states last month, Fifth reserve district states used
184,815 bales, or 57.37 per cent.

Tobacco Marketing

North Carolina tobacco markets sold 73,449,151
pounds of producers' tobacco in December 1930, com­
pared with 44,320,840 pounds sold in December 1929.
Total sales this season to January 1, 1931, amounted
to 488,931,007 pounds, compared with sales totaling
445,484,653 pounds sold of the 1929 crop prior to
January 1, 1930. Prices received in North Carolina
last month averaged $12.54 per hundred pounds, a
much lower figure than $18.60 per hundred received
for tobacco sold in December a year ago. Part of the
price decline was due to generally lower grades of
tobacco offered for sale. Winston-Salem led in sales
in December with 11,681,408 pounds, and Wilson
ranked second with 11,346,025 pounds. In total sales
this season, Wilson leads with 72,912,040 pounds,
Greenville ranking second with 59,734,011 pounds and
Rocky Mount third with 40,311,996 pounds. Fuquay
Springs led in price in December with an average of
$15.54 per hundred pounds, Durham being second with
$15.27 and Asheville third with $15.26.
Virginia leaf tobacco markets sold 27,997,414 pounds
for growers in December, at an average price of only
$9.18 per hundred pounds. In December 1929, Vir­
ginia markets sold 24,105,346 pounds, at $18.45 per
hundred pounds. Total sales this season to January 1
were 76,951,098 pounds, compared with 81,826,767
pounds of the 1929 crop sold during the corresponding
period a year ago. The tobacco sold in Virginia in
December was of the following types: flue-cured, 19,-




5

071,339 pounds at $7.89 per hundred; fire-cured, 5,878,201 pounds at $9.83 per hundred; burley, 2,200,696
pounds at $19.30 per hundred; and sun-cured, 847,178
pounds at $7.42 per hundred. The quality of tobacco
sold last month was poorer than in most years, aver­
aging 13 per cent good, 29 per cent medium, and 58
per cent common, compared with 27 per cent good, 42
per cent medium, and only 31 per cent common in
December 1929. Among the individual markets, Dan­
ville led in sales last month with 8,723,055 pounds, and
South Boston was second with 3,890,859 pounds, both
cities being flue-cured markets. Lynchburg led in firecured sales with 1,631,856 pounds, Blackstone ranking
second with 1,500,390 pounds. All sun-cured tobacco
was sold on the Richmond market, and Abingdon
handled the burley sales. Lawrenceville led the fluecured markets in average price with $9.51 per hundred
pounds, and Blackstone led the fire-cured markets with
$13.35 per hundred.

Construction

Building permits issued in thirty-two Fifth district
cities in December 1930 numbered only 632 for new
work, with estimated valuation of $3,427,263. These
are the lowest figures reported for any month in a
number of years, and are only a little more than half
the figures reported for December 1929, when 1,159
permits with estimated valuation of $6,849,608 were
issued for new construction. Alteration and repair
work provided for in December also compared un­
favorably with December 1929 figures. Combined
valuation figures for all classes of permits issued in
December totaled only $4,235,329, a decrease of $3,519,076, or 45.4 per cent, under total valuation of
$7,754,405 in December 1929. Only 8 of the 32 re­
porting cities showed higher figures for December
1930, and all of these increases were due to unusually
low 1929 figures rather than to large figures in 1930.
During the year 1930, permits for new construction in
the 32 reporting cities totaling 12,653 showed a de­
crease of 22.9 per cent under 16,420 permits issued in
1929, and 1930 valuation figures for new work totaling
$83,454,134 showed a decrease of 20.6 per cent in
comparison with valuation figures totaling $105,060,685
in 1929.
Contracts awarded in December for construction
work in the Fifth district, including both rural and
urban projects, totaled $28,139,023, compared with
only $15,067,295 awarded in November 1930 and
$13,417,233 in December 1929, according to figures col­
lected by the F. W. Dodge Corporation. Of the awards
in December 1930, $7,934,998 was for residential work,
compared with $5,474,923 for this type of work in
December 1929. The contract award figures for De­
cember compared much more favorably with corre­
sponding figures of the previous year than building
permit figures, due to a considerable volume of road
construction and industrial work provided for outside
the limits of cities. Annual figures for 1930 on con­
tracts awarded in the Fifth district total $352,912,092,
a decrease of only 8.6 per cent in comparison with
contracts totaling $385,963,047 awarded in 1929. An
examination of the figures in this section on Construe-

6

MONTHLY REVIEW

tion indicates that the 1930 slump in building was much
more marked in the cities than in rural districts, the
favorable showing made by the latter being due chiefly
to a continuation or an expansion of road and bridge
construction done by the several states.

Crop Estimates
Crop yields in the Fifth reserve district in 1930 were
good in the two Carolinas, but were very poor in Mary­
land, Virginia and West Virginia. Early grain crops,
such as wheat and oats, turned out well in the entire
district, these crops being made before the drought be­
came harmful. South Carolina’s composite yield in
1930 of all crops was 120.2 per cent of the ten-year
average, the third highest figure in the United States,
and North Carolina’s yield was 99.4 per cent. On the
other hand, Maryland’s total production of all crops
was only 73.4 per cent of the ten-year average, Vir­
.Tears
Crops
Corn (b u s.)____________ .....1930
1929
Cotton (b ales)-------------- .....1930
1929
—1930
Tobacco (lbs.) -------------1929
Irish Potatoes (bus.)........... ....1930
1929
Sweet Potatoes (bus.)------....1930
1929
Oats (bus.) ------------------ ....1930
1929
Wheat (bus.) ---------------- —1930
1929
Hay (tons) --------------------..1930
1929
Peanuts (lb s .)---------------—1930
1929
Apples (b u s.)---------------- -1930
1929
Apples, Commercial (bbls.) -1930
1929
Sorghum Syrup (gals.)------1930
1929

Maryland
8.115.000
19.162.000

ginia produced 67.7 per cent, and West Virginia with
56.9 per cent was the lowest in the country.
The low price levels for agricultural products in
1930 added to the distress caused by poor yields in the
upper half of the district and more than offset the good
crops in the Carolinas. According to the December
17 report of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics of
the U. S. Department of Agriculture, the farm value of
all crops in South Carolina in 1930 was only 86 per
cent of the value of 1929 crops, North Carolina crops
were worth 82 per cent of the previous year’s crops,
Maryland values were 65 per cent, West Virginia 58
per cent, and Virginia only 57 per cent. These figures
give a 1930 district average of 74 per cent in com­
parison with the value of 1929 crops.
We include a table showing yields for 1930 and 1929
of the principal crops in the district, the 1930 figures
in nearly all cases being final official estimates as of
December 1.

W. Virginia
5.865.000
15.876.000

---------------19.260.000
25.600.000
2,981,000
4,000,000
800,000
1,250,000
1.376.000
1.333.000
11,707,000
9,468,000
408.000
648.000

----------4.896.000
6.588.000
4.200.000
6.555.000
150.000
240.000
4.428.000
5.616.000
2.345.000
1.782.000
495,000
1,149,000

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

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

1,826,000
2,200,000
279.000
455.000

3.944.000
5.600.000
680,000
1,400,000
413.000
630.000

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

Virginia
18.032.000
44.138.000
42.000
48.000
88,200,000
109,500,000
14.583.000
17.135.000
3.760.000
6.705.000
3.800.000
3.841.000
9.982.000
8.960.000
596,000
1,373,000
98,420,000
149,732,000
7,700,000
13,000,000
1.300.000
3.100.000
700.000
810.000

N. Carolina
51.865.000
50.828.000
795.000
747.000
535.195.000
502.600.000
8.839.000
8.207.000
9.506.000
9.126.000
6.521.000
6.192.000
4.288.000
5.347.000
794.000
864.000
208,800,000
249,900,000
2.535.000
2.628.000
100,000
150,000
2.460.000
1.880.000

S. Carolina
26.978.000
23.321.000
1.040.000
830.000
94.170.000
82.460.000
2.973.000
2.608.000
5.200.000
5.750.000
9.996.000
11,016,000
538.000
768.000
303.000
313.000
8.400.000
7.350.000
454.000
308.000

1,820,000
1,292,000

W holesale Trade, 66 Firms

Retail Trade, 34 Department Stores

24
9
6
15
12
Groceries Dry Goods
Shoes
Hardware
Drugs
December 1930 sales, compared with sales in December 1929:
— 8.3
—17.6
—15.2
—24.8
— 92
December 1930 sales, compared with sales in November 1930:
— .7
—29.5
—52.5
—15.0
— 1.0
Total sales in 1930, compared with sales in 1929:
— 6.8
—17.2
— 9.3
—16.7
— 6.4
Dec. 31, 1930 stocks, compared with Dec. 31, 1929 stocks:
— 7.5(10*) —24.5(5*) —22.3(5*) —10.4(8*)
____
Dec. 31, 1930 stocks, compared with Nov. 30, 1930 stocks:
—12.6(9*) —11.5(4*) — 1.9(5*) — 1.1(8*)
____
Percentage of Dec. 1,1930 receivables collected in December:
63.6(15*)
37.7(6*)
39.1(6*)
32.9(12*)
51.2(8*)

Baltimore
Washington
Other Cities
District
December 1930 sales, compared with sales in December 1929:
— 4.1
— .3
—12.2
— 4.1
Total sales in 1930, compared with total sales in 1929:
— 2.1
— 1.5
— 8.7
— 3.1
Dec. 31, 1930 stock, compared with stock on Dec. 31, 1929:
— 7.4
—13.1
—12.9
—10.8
Dec. 31, 1930 stock, compared with stock on Nov. 30, 1930:
—20.0
—21.7
—22.8
—21.3
Number of times stock was turned in December 1930:
.542
.632
.421
.548
Number of times stock was turned during the year 1930:
3.804
3.906
2.839
3.62
Percentage of Dec. 1,1930, receivables collected in December:
24.7_________ 33L6_________ 3L3_________ 28.7

*Number of reporting firms.




(Compiled January 21, 1931)

7

MONTHLY REVIEW

BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF DECEMBER*?!930 AND 1929.
o
*
fc

CITIES

Permits Issued
New
Repairs
1930 1929

1930

1929

New Construction
1930

1929

1930

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.___
Winston-Salem, N. C___
Charleston, S. C.........
Columbia, S. C._____
Greenville, S. C.____
Rock Hill, S. C.
Spartanburg, S. C.....
Washington, D. C.__

250
2
4
8
15
2
11
61
1
7
35
16
2
14
3
13
0
25
4
7
3
7
3
2
8
20
14
6
4
1
4
80

322
6
4
11
15
3
13
36
1
8
48
22
3
38
6
16
2
23
21
6
10
11
10
4
9
26
10
9
5
4
23
47

760 $ 1,594,240 $ 2,916,480
4,950
5
10,637
1,075
645
4
19,100
1
80,750
10,005
30,460
5
850
6,062
5
27
41,325
163,390
56
87,918
70,075
9,500
2
1,250
9.775
12
6,050
76,913
313,785
53
14,334
7
150,658
0
150
1,165
6
69,923
161,361
5
1,650
3,590
2
13,275
5,000
26
0
91,810
28
52,585
79,825
12,100
1
262,350
7,350
4,965
19
13,850
1
21,600
55,475
5
12,000
1,050
11,980
3
0
2,525
2,725
32,000
9
20,700
40
23,565
20,965
21
35,365
6,015
26
18,150
118,025
24
26,275
31,080
3
620
1,375
19
7,050
69,385
220
1,184,320
2,173,450

$ 248,000
515
505
0
1,850
2,195
90,585
21,230
1,005
8,610
49,078
27,320
14,200
42,100
4,900
0
3,850
12,834
5,550
13,970
4,225
10,105
2,850
0
2,950
17,030
4,070
5,060
3,125
2,185
6,364
201,805

Totals..................

1
2
3
4

632

772 1,159 1,395 $ 3,427,263 $ 6,849,608

$ 808,066

— Denotes decrease.

600
3
2
0
5
3
16
26
5
14
42
9
5
4
5
0
19
17
4
19
6
12
2
0
6
32
22
20
17
5
18
221

1929

Increase or
Decrease
of
Total
Valuation

364,800
1,500
1,695
1,500
7,950
1,795
10,390
15,295
3,950 j
12,783
101,444
1,460
0
4,392
12,750
560
9,480
14,167
1,600
11,022
8,000
57,925
3,150 !
0
5,400
22,539
4,500
15,650
26,605
675
3,940
177,880

$—1,439,040
— 6,672
—
760
— 63,150
— 26,555
— 4,812
— 41,870
23,778
5,305
—
448
— 289,238
— 110,464
13,185
— 53,730
— 9,790
7,715
— 97,440
— 28,573
— 246,300
5,333
— 11,525
— 4,345
— 11,230
—
200
8,850
— 2,909
28,920
— 110,465
— 28,285
755
— 59,911
—• 965,205

Alterations

o

fc

T2

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

$ 904,797 $—3,519,076

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




MONTHLY REVIEW

8

BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES
(Compiled by the Federal Reserve Board)

Production and factory employment declined fur­
ther in December. Wholesale prices decreased during
the first half of the month but thereafter were gen­
erally steadier. Conditions in the money market re­
mained easy and in January money rates reached new
low levels.

decline for the month of December as a whole.
Value of American exports to foreign countries was
smaller in December than in November, and approxi­
mately 35 per cent below that of December, 1929, the
decrease reflecting in part the decline in wholesale
prices.

Industrial production was further reduced during
December, and the Federal Reserve Board’s index,
which makes allowance for usual seasonal changes,
showed a decline of over 2 per cent. Output of steel
and iron, textiles, petroleum, cement, and copper was
substantially curtailed. Activity in meatpacking plants
and at anthracite mines increased in December, and
in the automobile industry there was an increase in
output, reflecting the introduction of new models.
After the turn of the year, automobile output in­
creased further, and steel plants were more active.
Construction contracts awarded during December
were in about the same volume as in November, ac­
cording to reports of the F. W. Dodge Corporation.
There were slight declines, partly seasonal in nature,
in contracts for residential and commercial construc­
tion, while public works and utility awards increased
somewhat.

Wholesale prices of commodities declined sharply in
the first half of December, while in the following four
weeks average fluctuations were relatively small. For
the month of December as a whole, there were large
decreases in prices of corn, hogs, cotton, hides, and
lumber, while prices of wheat, beef, and silk averaged
somewhat higher than in November.
During the first two weeks in January, prices of
corn, sugar, and silk increased, and the price of wheat
in American markets remained fairly stable. Silver
prices reached new low levels.

Production*

Employment and Wage-payments.

Employment in manufacturing industries was re­
duced further by 2.5 per cent between the middle of
November and the middle of December, and factory
pay rolls also declined. The largest reductions in work­
ing forces were in the canning, lumber, steel, and
wearing apparel industries. There was little change in
employmeent in railroad car shops, and in cotton and
silk mills, while in the automobile, meatpacking, and
paper and printing industries working forces were in­
creased slightly.
In early January, following year-end inventory pe­
riods, reports indicate increased employment in cer­
tain industries, particularly automobiles, steel, and rail­
roads.

Distribution.

Sales of department stores increased in December
by slightly less than the amount which is usual for
the holiday season, according to preliminary reports to
the Federal reserve banks. In December, as in earlier
months of the year, the volume of sales probably re­
flected the influence of declining retail prices. Dis­
tribution of commodities by freight showed a further




Wholesale Prices.

Bank Credit and Money Rates.
Loans and investments of reporting member banks
declined in the four-week period ending January 14,
reflecting further liquidation of security loans, as well
as a reduction in “all other” loans and in investments.
Changes in the position of reserve banks in recent
weeks refleceted largely changes in the demand for cur­
rency. In December this demand increased more than
is usual for the season, owing to the withdrawal of
cash by banks and by the public in districts where
there were important bank failures. In the two weeks
after Christmas the return flow of currency from cir­
culation was smaller than the usual seasonal amount
and the result was that money in circulation, which
during the larger part of 1930 had been in considerably
smaller volume than in 1929, in January, 1931, was
above the level of a year ago. In the following two
weeks the return flow of currency was somewhat
larger than usual, indicating a return of part of the
extra currency which had been called into use in De­
cember.
Money rates in the open market continued at low
levels during December, and declined further in the
first half of January.
The discount rate at the Federal Reserve Bank of
New York was reduced to 2 per cent on December
24, and in the following three weeks the rate at the
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston was reduced to 2
per cent, and rates at the Federal Reserve Banks of
Cleveland, St. Louis, Chicago, Atlanta, and San Fran­
cisco to 3 per cent.