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MONTHLY REVIEW
of Financial and Business Conditions

F ifth
Federal

Federal Reserve Bank, Richmond, Va.
LTHOUGH there was a marked recession in practi­
cally every line of business except tobacco manufac­
turing in the Fifth Federal Reserve district in the last
quarter of 1937, with a resulting rise in unemployment
and reduction in payrolls, business in the first three-quar­
ters of the year was so much better than in 1936 that
annual figures for 1937 are nearly all higher than those
for the preceding year. In banking, member banks had
an increase in needs for funds from industry and trade
and their loans and discounts rose moderately. The
Reserve bank cleared a larger number of checks through
the Transit department than in any earlier year, and
showed increased earnings and decreased expenses in com­
parison with 1936. Debits to individual accounts in
twenty-four Fifth district cities, reflecting the volume of
business passing through the banks by check, rose by
10.3 per cent in 1937. Mutual savings bank deposits in
Baltimore were at the highest level on record at the end
of 1937, and deposits were also higher in reporting mem­
ber banks than a year earlier. Employment increased in
the district during the first half of 1937, but in the last
three months there was a rapid rise in unemployment or
in shortened hours of work. Sales of automobiles fell
off much more than seasonally in November and Decem­
ber, but total sales in 1937 exceeded 1936 sales by 2.3
per cent in the Fifth district. Construction work pro­
vided for in building permits issued and in contracts
awarded was in larger volume in 1937 than in the pre­
ceding year, although construction declined materially in
the fall and early winter. Coal production dropped in
the last quarter, when industry slowed down, but total
output of coal last year was slightly above 1936 output.
Rayon manufacture was at capacity level during most of
1937, but in the last half of the year shipments to weavers
were materially below output and inventories rose from
practically nothing in June to 2.5 month’s supply at the
end of the year. Cotton textile mills curtailed produc­
tion in the last quarter of 1937, but during the year Fifth
district mills set a new record for cotton consumption.
Tobacco manufacturing in 1937 exceeded that of 1936,
and did not experience any material decline when the
A




R

eserve
is t r ic t

D

January 31,1938
recession came in the fall. Retail trade as reflected in
department store sales was about 3 per cent ahead of
trade in 1936 in the Fifth district, and wholesale trade
in four of five reporting lines was also in larger volume,
although wholesale trade declined greatly in the last three
months of 1937. In agriculture, all Fifth district crops
exceeded those of 1936 in yield, but the price situation
for farm products was less favorable and cash returns to
farmers were less than might have been expected from
crop yields.
Reviewing developments in December and early Jan­
uary, discounts declined at the Reserve bank and there
was a seasonal drop in Federal Reserve notes in actual
circulation. Reporting member banks showed small de­
creases in both loans and investments, while their reserve
balances rose. Debits to individual accounts in December
rose seasonally over November debits, but were lower
than December 1936 figures. Employment continued to
decline, but apparently did not fall as rapidly as in Oc­
tober and November. Automobile sales were lower in
every Fifth district state in December than in December
1936, averaging a drop of 36.3 per cent. Construction
as reflected in building permits issued last month declined
30 per cent from the December 1936 valuation, but con­
tracts awarded in the district last month totaled only 2.6
per cent less than contracts awarded in December 1936.
Coal production in December was much lower than in the
corresponding month in 1936. Retail trade in department
stores was in slightly larger volume in December 1937
than in December 1936, but wholesale trade was in mate­
rially smaller volume.
There follows a statistical summary of developments in
December:
%
December 1937
Debits to individual accounts (24
cities ............................................ . $1,,417,256,000
No. of business failures, 5th district
43
Liabilities in failures, 5th distric. . $
357,000
Sales, 52 dept, stores, 5th district... % 19,441,708
3,959,131
Sales, 56 wholesale firms in 5 lines. *
14,715
Registrations, new passenger autos.
3,743,090
Value bldg. permits (31 cities). . . . . $
Value of contracts awarded, 5th dist. $ 19,372,100
208,695
Cotton consumption, 5th dist. (bales)
36,226,000
Soft Coal mined, U. S. (tons)..........

December 1936 Change
$1,,478,087,000
23
250,000
$
$ 19,179,152
4,408,770
$
23,084
5,356,943
$
$ 19,880,500
318,430s
45,756,000

— 4.1
+ 87.0
+ 48.8
+ 1.4
— 10.2
— 36.3
— 30.1
— 2.6
— 34.5
— 20.8

MONTHLY REVIEW

2

BA N K IN G CONDITIONS
eserve
Ban k
Statem ent :
Earning assets at the
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond rose by $1,721,000
between December 15 and January 15, holdings of Gov­
ernment securities increasing $1,901,000 while discounts
declined $156,000 and industrial advances dropped $24,000. A seasonal decline amounting to $10,256,000 oc­
curred during the month in Federal Reserve notes in
actual circulation. Notes begin to flow back to the Reserve
bank as soon as the holiday buying period passes, and in
about the same volume noted this year. Member bank
reserve deposits rose by $3,092,000 between the middle
of December and the middle of January, but cash re­
serves of the Reserve bank declined $30,020,000 during
the same period and the ratio of cash reserves to note and
deposit liabilities combined dropped to 2.22 points.
Between January 15 last year and January 15 this year,
net changes in the Richmond Reserve bank’s statement
were small. Certain items varied considerably from time
to time during the year, but figures on January 15 in both
1937 and 1938 were little different. Increases during the
year occurred in discounts held, Government securities
owned, note circulation, member bank reserve deposits
and cash reserves, while there were declines in the port­
folio of open market paper and in industrial advances.

R

it e m s

Discounts held .....................................
Open market paper ...........................
Industrial advances .............................

. .
........

Total earning assets .......................
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes ........
Members’ reserve deposits ...............
Cash reserves .........................................

000 omitted
Dec. 15
Jan. 15
1938
1937
$
559
$
715
23
23
1,759
1,783
136,297
134,396
138,638
136,917
202,954
213,210
218,213
215,121
306,337
336,357
71.90

D

e b it s

December
1937

CITIES
Maryland
Baltimore ...................................

Jan. 15
1937
$
169
25
2,581
133,491
136,266
200,989
211,376
301,626
69.60

TO I

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 :
Be­
tween December 15 and January 12, loans and discounts
in 41 regularly reporting member banks in 12 Fifth dis­
trict cities declined $3,007,000, and investments in securi­
ties also dropped by $4,751,000, but aggregate reserve
balances of the 41 banks at the Reserve bank rose by
$8,347,000 and cash in vaults increased by $432,000.
Deposits rose by $3,175,000 during the month, of which
$3,114,000 was in time deposits and $61,000 in demand
deposits.
A comparison of current figures with those a year ear­
lier shows several material changes. During the year
loans and discounts rose by $22,231,000, but investments
in securities declined by $48,528,000. Aggregate reserve
balances of the reporting banks dropped by $1,705,000
during the year, and cash in vaults declined by $842,000.
Deposits declined by $16,281,000 between January 13,
1937, and January 12, 1938, nearly all of which was in
demand deposits. None of the reporting banks was bor­
rowing in January last year or this, but during the year
one or two of the 41 institutions borrowed temporarily
outside the Reserve System.

ITEMS
Loans & discounts ............................. . , ,
Investments in securities ..................
Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank .........
Cash in vaults ..............................................
Demand deposits ................................. . . . .
Time deposits .......................................
Money borrowed ................................. ........

000 omitted
Jan. 12
Dec. 15
1938
1937
$251,281
$254,288
389,379
394,130
137,296
128,949
19,006
18,574
448,616
448,555
191,588
0
0

Jan. 13
1937
$229,050
437,904
139,001
19,848
464,261
195,338
0

u tu al
S a v in g s
Ban k
D e p o s it s :
After declining
seasonally in November, deposits in ten mutual savings
banks in Baltimore rose at the end of December 1937 to
$218,947,860, the highest figure on record. At the end
of November 1937 the same banks had deposits totaling
$218,047,433, and on December 31, 1936, deposits totaled
$213,178,946.

M

ndi

November
1937

December
1936

% Change
Month Year

Annual Totals
1937

Annual Totals
1936

%

Change

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

9,117,000

$ 347,279,000
8,443,000
7,827,000

$ 425,820,000
8,858,000
9,249,000

+ 15.8
+ 8.0
+ 10.9

— 5.6
+ 2.9
— 6.1

$ 4,417,408,000
111,717,000
106,830,000

$ 4,049,013,000
102,089,000
96,681,000

Dist. of Col.
Washington ............................... ...............

283,615,000

250,647,000

286,842,000

+ 13.1

- 1.1

3,164,659,000

2,929,187,000

+

8.0

Virginia
Danville ..................................... ................
Lynchburg ................................. ................
...............
...............
...............
................
................

12,442,000
16,162,000
10,443,000
56,604,000
4,698,000
176,927,000
30,695,000

15,986,000
15,061,000
8,450,000
48,444,000
4,032,000
169,243,000
27,343,000

14,933,000
19,096,000
11,848,000
57,381,000
5,658,000
191,466,000
33,942,000

-2 2 .1
+ 7.3
+ 23.6
+ 16.8
+ 16.5
+ 4.5
+ 12.3

— 16.7
— 15.4
— 11.9
— 1.4
— 17.0
— 7.6
- 9.6

130,105,000
187,743,000
113,533,000
615,937,000
49,621,000
1,982,410,000
355,835,000

111,015,000
182,996,000
109,107,000
553,541,000
47,136,000
1,799,514,000
327,261,000

+
+
+
+
+
+
+

17.2
2.6
4.1
11.3
5.3
10.2
8.7

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

71,157,000
20,064,000

56,879,000
18,710,000

63,997,000
22,934,000

— 25.1
— 7.2

+ 11.2
— 12.5

673,248,000
227,201,000

563,751,000
203,192,000

+ 19.4
+ 11.8

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

13,992,000
62,151,000
33,443,000
19,543,000
48,742,000
11,620,000
45,534,000

12,597,000
58,678,000
42,827,000
18,856,000
38,407,000
10,180,000
40,027,000

14,354,000
69,039,000
31,767,000
20,012,000
41,425,000
11,088,000
48,841,000

— 11.1
— 5.9
— 21.9
+ 3.6
+ 26.9
+ 14.1
+ 13.8

— 2.5
— 10.0
+ 5.3
— 2.3
+ 17.7
+ 4.8
- 6.8

160,819,000
728,359,000
400,209,000
225,861,000
473,741,000
137,112,000
504,611,000

138,333,000
655,224,000
350,549,0001
200,951,000
390,173,000
120,571,000
458,977,000

+
+
+
+
+
+
+

South Carolina
................
Columbia ..................................... ................
................

17,909,000
31,228,000
19,707,000

15,983,000
28,235,000
18,121,000
9,682,000

18,534,000
32,479,000
26,832,000
11,692,000

+
+
+
+

12.1
10.6
8.8
10.3

— 3.4
— 3.9
— 26.6
- 8.7

225,967,000
351,083,000
248,400,000
118,483,000

190,051,000
317,801,000
239,943,000
101,678,000

+ 18.9
+ 10.5
+ 3.5
+ 16.5

$1,417,256,000

$1,271,937,000

$1,478,087,000

+ 11.4

— 4.1

$15,710,892,000

$14,238,734,000

+ 10.3

+ 9.1
+ 9.4
+ 10.5

West Virginia

North Carolina




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

16.3
11.2
14.2
12.4
21.4
13.7
9.9

MONTHLY REVIEW
D e b i t s t o I n d i v i d u a l A c c o u n t s : Checks cashed against
accounts of individuals, firms and corporations 'in the
banks in 24 Fifth district cities in December 1937 showed
a seasonal increase of $145,319,000, or 11.4 per cent, over
aggregate debits in November 1937, but totaled $60,831,000, or 4.1 per cent, less than debits reported for De­
cember 1937. Last month was the first since December
1933 in which debits in the 24 cities were less than debits
in the corresponding month of the preceding year.
During the calendar year 1937, aggregate debits in the
24 cities totaling $15,710,892,000 exceeded debits totaling
$14,238,734,000 in 1936 by 10.3 per cent, every reporting
city showing higher figures for the later year. Monthly
debits figures in March exceeded those of the correspond­
ing month in 1936 by 25.0 per cent, the largest percentage
increase shown for any month in 1937, but from that
time there was a steady decline to an increase of 6.9 per
cent in August. The decline was checked temporarily in
September, which gained 8.6 per cent in comparison with
debits in September 1936, but the last three months wit­
nessed further decreases to the 4.1 per cent decline in
December.

B U SIN E SS CONDITIONS
E m ploym ent:
The number of persons gainfully em­
ployed in Fifth district states appears to have declined
by somewhat more than seasonal average since the middle
of December, but the drop was less marked than in Oc­
tober and November. A number of industries further
cut operating time during the month under review, and
workers in many plants were put on shorter hours. Coal
mines produced less coal on a daily basis in December
than in either November 1937 or December 1936. Shops
of railroads reduced their employees in December, and
textile mills and rayon manufacturing plants limited their
output in an effort to lower inventories. Construction
work declined in December probably more than is ac­
counted for by seasonal trend. Reviewing 1937 as a whole,
employment tended to become progressively better during
the first part of the year, but leveled off in the summer
and declined materially during the fall and early winter
when construction costs rose too rapidly and industry
found itself faced by large inventories and declining
orders.
The following figures, compiled by the Bureau of Labor
Statistics from records submitted by a large number of
identical industries, show the trends of employment and
payrolls in the Fifth district from November to De­
cember I
Percentage change from

Nov. to Dec. 1937
In number
In amount
on payroll
of payroll

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

-

0.1

—
+
—
—
—

3.3
6.2
1.2
5.7
3.0
7.5

C o m m e r c ia l F a il u r e s :
Data on commercial failures,
compiled by Dun & Bradstreet, show more insolvencies
and increased liabilities in both the Fifth district and the
United States in December 1937 than in December 1936.
Failures in the district increased 87.0 per cent in com­
parison with 34.7 per cent in the United States, and the




3

district increase of 48.8 per cent in liabilities involved
also made a worse comparison than the National increase
of only 8.2 per cent.
PERIODS
December 1937.....................
November 1937.....................
December 1936.....................
Year
Year

Number of failures
District U. S.
43
932
52
786
23
692

1937............................. ........ 489
1936............................. .........458

9,017
9,185

Total Liabilities
District
U. S.
$ 357,000' $ 13,291,000
660,000
10,078,000
250,000
12,288,000
$4,673,000
7,975,000

$115,594,000
147,253,000

u t o m o b il e
N e w C a r R e g is t r a t io n s :
Sales of new
passenger automobiles in the Fifth district dropped fur­
ther in December, and were 36.3 per cent below aggregate
sales in December 1936. Total sales in 1937 exceeded
sales in 1936 by 2.3 per cent, however, in spite of the
large decline in November and December. Sales in eight
of the twelve months of 1937 exceeded sales in the cor­
responding months of 1936. The following figures on
monthly and annual sales were reported by R. L. Polk &
Company, of Detroit:

A

Registrations of New Passenger Cars
STATES
Maryland ..........
D. of Col.............
Virginia ............
West Va..............
No. Carolina . . .
So. Carolina___
District ..........

Dec.
1937
2,521
1,470
3,064
1,441
4,982
1,237
14,715

Dec.
1936
4,496
2,818
4,443
2,996
5,897
2,434
23,084

Change12 Months 12 Months
1937
1936
— 43.9
46,371
44,228
— 47.8
28,259
32,787
—31.050,768
50,346
-5 1 .9
35,679
37,272
— 15.5
55,341
49,364
— 49.2
26,959
24,020
—36.3
243,377
238,017

Change
+ 4.8
— 13.8
+
.8
— 4.3
+12.1
+12.2
+ 2.3

C o n s t r u c t io n :
Building permits issued in 31 Fifth dis­
trict cities totaled 1,502 in December 1937, a decrease of
23.2 per cent in comparison with 1,956 permits issued in
December 1936, and last month’s estimated valuation of
$3,743,090 showed a decrease of 30.1 per cent under esti­
mated value of $5,356,943 for permits issued in December
1936. During the year 1937, the 31 reporting cities issued
permits for work totaling $88,792,436, an increase of
9.0 per cent over permits totaling $81,425,802 issued in
1936. Annual valuation figures for the reporting cities
in 1937 and 1936 are shown in a table elsewhere in this
Review.
Contract award figures for the Fifth district in De­
cember 1937 totaled $19,372,100, a decrease of 2.6 per
cent in comparison with awards totaling $19,880,500 in
December 1936. Annual figures for Fifth district states,
as reported by the F. W. Dodge Corporation, were as
follows in 1937 and 1936:

Construction Contracts Awarded
STATES
Maryland .....................................
Dist. of Col...................................
Virginia .......................................
West Virginia.............................
North Carolina .........................
South Carolina ...........................
District Totals .......................

Year 1937Year 1936
% Change
$ 70,007,900
$ 52,113,300
+34.3
65,444,400
55,314,500
+18.3
68,674,100
43,448,600
+58.1
22,523,900
21,265,400
+ 5.9
55,740,600
51,789,600
+ 7.6
34,039,300
32,271,700
+ 5.5
$316,430,200
$256,203,100
+23.5

in in g :
Coal production in bituminous fields de­
creased further in December and totaled only 36,226,000
net tons, an unseasonal decline in comparison with 36,255,000 tons mined in November 1937 and 20.8 per cent
less than 45,756,000 tons dug in December 1936. Pro­
duction in the calendar year 1937 amounting to 440,265,000 tons exceeded 1936 production of 434,070,000 tons by
1.4 per cent. Hampton Roads ports shipped approxi­
mately 21,470,409 tons during 1937, compared with 19,-

Coal M

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

897,878 tons shipped through the same ports in 1936.
The report of the Bituminous Coal Commission for Janu­
ary 8 , 1938, listed production figures by states for Novem­
ber 1937 and 1936 as follows:

with 1,497,044,672 hours, the two states accounting for
53 per cent of the United States total of 6,482,657,746
hours of operation.

Soft Coal Production in Tons

Cotton :
Spot cotton prices on ten Southern markets
slowly advanced during the past month, rising from an
average of 8.22 cents per pound for middling grade up­
land cotton on December 17 to 8.56 cents on January 14.
The strength of the market appeared to be due to several
factors, including favorable reports from clearance sales
of cotton goods in the first half of January, a disposition
on the part of the growers to hold and pledge cotton on
Government loans, and inclusion of cotton in the Govern­
ment’s curtailment program for 1938. World cotton
production estimates for the 1937-1938 season have also
been reduced, due to a revision downward in the Chinese
crop. The Commodity Credit Corporation reported that
4,558,000 bales of the 1937 crop had been pledged on Gov­
ernment loans through January 13. The destination of
cotton exports from the United States changed radically
since last year. Japan took 780,745 bales between August
1 and December 31, 1936, but took only 119,921 bales in
the corresponding period ended December 31, 1937. On
the other hand, exports to the United Kingdom rose from
618,771 bales to 988,236 bales in the same periods, respec­
tively, and exports to France, Italy, Germany and Belgium
also rose materially.

New. 1937

Nov. 1936

Percentage
Change

West Virginia.........................
Virginia ...................................
Maryland „ .............................

9,127,000
1,146,000
140,000

10,895,000
1,145,000
130,000

— 16.2
+
.1
+ 7.7

5th District .........................
United States .....................

10,413,000
36,255,000

12,170,000
41,879,000

— 14.4
— 13.4

STATES

ayon :
Deliveries by American producers of rayon yarn
declined further in December from the low deliveries of
November, while stocks of yarns held by producers rose.
The industry operated at approximately 75 per cent of
capacity in December. Based on data gathered by the
National Rayon Weavers Association, the average rate
of loom operation during December was abount 38 per
cent of the August 1937 level, while shipments of rayon
yarn to weavers totaled 35 per cent of August shipments.
It is clear, therefore, that weavers are reducing yarn in­
ventories and any increase in the demand for rayon will
reflect back to manufacturers very quickly. The Rayon
Organon index of yarn deliveries averaged 586 for 1937,
based on average monthly deliveries in 1923-1925, the
figure varying from a high of 720 in February to a low of
242 in December. Stocks on hand at producing plants
rose from one-tenth of a month’s supply in June to 2.5
month’s supply in December.

R

Fifth district cotton mills continued
to restrict operating time in December and consumption
of cotton in the district declined to 208,695 bales, the
lowest figure reported for any month since August 1935.
Consumption in November 1937 was 243,550 bales, and
in December 1936 was 318,430 bales. However, total
consumption for the year 1937 of 3,513,067 bales set a
new record and was 4.4 per cent above the previous rec­
ord of 3,368,329 bales set in 1936. Mills are still strug­
gling with excess inventories and a limited volume of
orders from distributors. Early in January sales of un­
finished cloth increased and were substantially above the
curtailed mill output, and finished goods sales also in­
creased moderately. Retail prices of textiles apparently
declined considerably in December, reductions being es­
pecially marked for piece goods and for home furnishings,
including sheets and pillow cases. Consumption of cotton
by states in the Fifth district in December 1937, Novem­
ber 1937, and December 1936, in bales, is shown below:
C otton

T

e x t il e s

:

MONTHS

N o. Carolina So. Carolina Virginia

Dec.
1937

104,593
122,039
173,972

93,865
108,487
130,689

10,237
13,024
13,769

208,695
243,550
318,430

12 Months, 1937.........................
12 Months, 1936.........................

1,865,104
1,829,724

1,473,417
1,372,688

174,546
165,917

3,513,067
3,368,329

A report on spindle activity in November, released by
the Bureau of the Census on December 21, shows South
Carolina leading all states with an average of 342 hours of
operation per spindle in place, Virginia averaging 289
hours, and North Carolina 248 hours, all above the Na­
tional average of 243 hours. South Carolina also led
in total spindle hours of operation in November with
1,948,055,807 hours, while North Carolina was second

Dec.
1936

Aug. 1 to Dec. 31
This Year Last Year

Fifth district states:
208,695

318,430

1,295,290

1,486,057

Cotton consumed .................
373,298
Cotton on hand Dec. 31 in
Consuming establishments . . 1,449,365
Storage & Compresses.......... 11,791,287

578,327

2,258,777

2,658,255

1,723,155
7,705,309
2,650,558

3,176,502

3,184,766

2,896,802

Cotton consumed .

Cotton growing states:

United States:
433,058
Cotton consumed .................
Cotton on hand Dec. 31 in
Consuming establishments .. 1,7.18,352
Storage & compresses .......... 11,867,457

2,005,556
7,786,860

751,001

593,860

Exports of cotton

694,841

obacco
M a r k e t in g :
Auction tobacco markets were
closed in North Carolina and Virginia about ten days
around Christmas, and most of the tobacco sold was of
lower grade than that sold earlier in the season. Prices
consequently dropped below those of November, and were
also below December 1936 prices, but season average
prices through December continued higher than a year
earlier. Sales last month were as follows:

T

District

December 1 937.........................
November 1937...........................
December 1936...........................




Cotton Consumed and On Hand
(Bales)

STATES

Producers’
Tobacco Sales, Pounds

Price
Per Hundred
1936

Dec. 1937

Dec. 1936

1937

North Carolina ...................
N. C. Season to 1 2 /3 1 ........

24,098,973
554,727,722

27,458,988
422,628,418

$17.79
24.81

$19.32
22.73

Virginia (Flue-cured) ........
(Fire-cured) ........
(Burley) ..............
(Sun-cured) ........
Virginia, Total ...................
Va. season to 12/31 ............

11,694,740
3,684,778
4,406,238
351,663
20,137,419
88,739,562

15,745,031
4,330,729
3,599,356
656,359'
24,331,475
86,542,057

16.89
9.89
23.64
8.89
16.94
24.38

19.80
11.62
33.00
12.54
20.10
22.58

101,352,469

69,841,461

20.83

19.89

South Carolina, season

obacco M a n u f a c t u r n g :
The Bureau of Internal Rev­
enue reports tobacco products manufactured in December
1937 and 1936 as follows:

T

MONTHLY REVIEW
Dec. 1937

Dec. 1936

21,300,061
12,610,618,153
336,161,499
3,399,738

Smoking and Chewing
Tobacco, Pounds ..............
Cigarettes, Number . , ..........
Cigars, Number .......................
Snuff, Pounds ...........................

23,356,275
13,245,526,043
371,231,298
2,945,278

% Change

1937

V a l u a t io n

of

1936

300,924,240
162,625,515,468
5,317,440,360
36,934,140

B u il d in g

P e r m it s

% Change

309,589,530
153,166,336,093
5,182,898,751
38,099,956

—
+
+
—

2.8
6.2
2.6
3.1

Issued:

c it ie s

Maryland

1937
$18,194,512
508,040
358,111
475,475
531,298

Virginia
Danville .......................................
Lynchburg <=...............................
Norfolk .......................................
Petersburg . .................................
Portsmouth
...............................
Richmond . ................................... .
Roanoke r .....................................

757,967
1,101,032
2,569,875
125,833
399,282
4,175,888
2,208,743

845,667
837,3'39
1,785,959
114,630
284,416
3,558,468
70l
8,166

Bluefield .........................................
Charleston ................................. .
Clarksburg
............................... ..
Huntington
- .............................

$17,683,944
501,288
327,260
474,230
556,645

588,150
2,523,198
538,617
1,280,706

299,390
2,153,742
707,425
1,500,160

North Carolina
Asheville
...................................
Charlotte
................................... .
Durham ...................................... .
Greensboro ....................................
High Point . ............................... .
Raleigh ......................... .............. .
Rocky Mount . ............................
Salisbury ..................... .
..
Winston-Salem
....................... .

744,360
3,513,708
2,296,741
2,121,214
745,922
1,678,830
450,126
206,310
2,117,205

678,975
2,741,170
1,895,226
1,843,517
592,782
749,582
369,704
245,263
1,498,993

South Carolina
Charleston
...............................
Columbia ............................... .
Greenville
................................. .
Rock Hill ......................................
...........................
Spartanburg

1,152,203
1,570,603
1,196,649
381,990
527,483

1,203,095
2,150,881
1,804,552
469,325
358,163

West Virginia

Dist. of Col.
Washington ................................ ,.____________ 33,752,365___________ 32,487,845
District Totals ................. ______________$88,792,436__________ $81,425,802
Permit valuation figures for Washington do not include Federal
Government building.




Net Sales
Dec. 1937
comp, with
December
1936

Net Sales
Stocks
Jan. 1 to date
Dec. 31, 1937
compared with compared with
same period Dec. 31 Nov. 30
last year
1936
1937

Richmond (3 )..
Baltimore (8) ..
Washington (6)
Other Cities (14)
District (29) .

+ 5.0
+ 2.8
+
.2
— .9
+ i.o

+ 6.2
+
.2
+ 5.0
+ 3.1

Same stores by
States, with 23
stores added:
Virginia (13)..
West. Va. ( 8 ) ...
No. Carolina (6)
So. Carolina (10)
District (52)..

+
—
+

Ratio Dec.
collections
to accounts
outstanding
December 1

+ 7.1
+ 6.4
+ 4.5
+ 8.8
+ 3.7

5.2
6.4
4.4
.1
1.4

+
—
—
+
—

7.0
3.3
4.3
6.7
2.1

— 25.9
— 23.3
— 25.5
— 25.9
— 24.7

35.1
33.2
27.7
33.0
30.4

1936

Baltimore ....................................
Cumberland . - .............................
Frederick ......................................
Hagerstown ...............................
Salisbury
..................................

Note:

R e t a il T r a d e i n D e p a r t m e n t S to res :

— 4.8
— 9.4
+ 15.4

Total production of tobacco products in 1937 and 1936
was as follows:
Smoking & Chewing
Tobacco, Pounds ______
Cigarettes, Number s ............
Cigars, Number . ...................
Snuff, Pounds .........................

5

W

h olesale

T

rade

,

56

F

ir m s

:

Net Sales
Net Sales
Stocks
Dec. 1937
Jan. 1 to date
Dec. 31, 1937
comp, with compared with compared with
Dec.
Nov. same period Dec. 31 Nov. 30
1936
1937
last year
1936
1937
Groceries (21). — 1.9
Dry Goods (7) —23.7
Shoes (6) ----- -— 30.9
Hardware (11) — 14.7
Drugs (11) . . . — 2.2

— 2.2
— 35.9
—50.0
— 17.3
— 1.1

+ 7.9
— 1,7
+ 3.4
+15.0
+ 7.4

— 3.4
+ 37.3
+ 5.0
+ 4.5
+ 6.8

— 10.9
— 12.3
+16.4
- 3.0
- 1.7

Ratio Dec.
collections
to accounts
outstanding
December 1
120.4
44.2
67.5
43.9
92.0

Note: All figures in Retail and Wholesale tables represent percentage
changes except the collection ratios. Number of reporting firms shown in
parentheses.

A G R IC U LT U R A L ST A T IST IC S
Production figures for all leading crops in the Fifth
district were higher in 1937 than in 1936, and all crops
except Irish potatoes produced more than the average
for five base years 1928-1932. Prices, on the other hand,
were lower for most crops in 1937, and cash returns to
growers were not in proportion to production figures. To­
bacco was the district’s most profitable crop, due to in­
creased yield and slightly better prices for the leading
type. A larger cotton crop brought materially lower cash
returns, and the same was true of both Irish and sweet
potatoes. The apple, hay, wheat and oats crops sold for
more than the 1936 crops, but peanuts returned less. For
the first time, the Department of Agriculture reports
cash returns instead of farm values for 1937 crops. These
new figures show how much money the growers have
with which to pay expenses of all kinds and to purchase
nonagricultural commodities. They include Government
payments as well as money received from sales, but take
no account of products used on the farms.

6

MONTHLY REVIEW
Yrs.

Maryland

Virginia

W. Virginia

N. Carolina

District

Cash Income

1937
1936
Av. 1928-1932

18,576,000
18,396,000
14,431,000

37,740,000
30,014,000
30,388,000

14,245,000
11.560,000
11,054,000

45,357,000
43,475,000
38,415,000

24,945,000
22,005,000
20,240,000

140,863,000
125,450,000
114,528,000

$ 10,400,000
9,650,000

775,000
597,000
752,000

1,025,000
816,000
856,000

1,841,000
1,446,000
1,653,000

$ 39,200,000
52,580,000

CROPS
Corn (bus.) ................... ...........

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

1937
1936
Av. 1928-1932

Cotton (bales)

41,000
33,000
45,000

S. Carolina

Tobacco (lbs.) ............. ............

25,200,000
30,750,000
24,318,000-

104,421,000
96,734,000
98,400,000

2,590,000
1,485,000
4,224,000

593,745,000
457,375,000
469,135,000

106,275,000
73,350,000
75,918,000

832,231,000
659,694,000
671,995,000

$202,715,000
142,842,000

Irish Potatoes (bus.) . ..........

3,480,000
2,940,000
3,339,000

10,920,000
7,380,000
14,328,000

3,264,000
1,920,000
3,445,000

9,894,000
5,772,000
7,540,000

3,120,000
1,800,000
2,748,000

30,678,000
19,812,000
31,400,000

$ 14,600,000
27,100,000

Sweet Potatoes (bus.) ............

1,000,000
1,200,000
1,299,000

5,070,000
4,366,000
4,270,000

8,160,000
7,560,000
7,141,000

5,130,000
4,845,000
4,648,000

19,360,000
17,971,000
17,358,000

$

3,675,000
4,475,000

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

1,083,000
1,131,000
1,560,000

1,680,000
1,287,000
2,837,000

1,520,000
1,206,000
2,883,000

4,830,000
3,430,000
3,572,000

10,076,000
8,473,000
8,076,000

19,189,000
15,527,000
18,928,000

$

604,000
487,000

Wheat (bus.) ................ .............

9,044,000
8,980,000
8,630,000

9,720,000
7,862,000
9,260,000

2,736,000
2,214,000
1,747,000

5,817,000
5,194,000
3,790,000

1,416,000
1,472,000
704,000

28,733,000
25,722,000
24,131,000

$ 20,450,000
14,960,000

Hay (tons) ................... .............

518,000
327,000
448,000

1,204,000
587,000
868*000

741,000
508,000
639,000

824,000
680,000
571,000

502,000
424,000
255,000

3,789,000
2,526,000
2,781,000

278,460,000
250,800,000
223,450,000

7,865,000
8,160,000
8,760,000

459,975,000
411,240,000
380,534,000

$ 13,525,000
14,110,000

4,505,000
1,890,000
3,199,000

363,000
245,000
254.000

35,719,000
17,044,000
25,473,000

$ 16,000,000
13,255,000

1937
1936
Av. 1928-1932

1937
1936
Av. 1928-1932
1937
1936
Av. 1928-1932

Oats (bus.)

1937
1936
Av. 1928-1932
1937
1936
Av. 1928-1932

1937
1936
Av. 1928-1932

Peanuts (lbs.)

Apples (bus.)

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

173,650,000
152,280,000
148,324,000

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

1937
1936
Av. 1928-1932
1937
1936
Av. 1928-1932

2,847,000
2,014,000
2,067,000

18,000,000
8,500,000
13,116,000

10,004,000
4,395,000
6,837,000

$

4,455,000
3,975,000

(Compiled January 21, 1938)

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

IN D U S T R IA L PRODUCTION

Industrial output declined further in December and, according to prelimi­
nary reports, showed little change in the first three weeks of January. Prices
of raw materials, which had declined sharply in October and November, have
been maintained since that time.
PRODUCTION

Index of physical volume of production, adjusted for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average
=ioo. By months, January 1934 to December




Volume of industrial production declined further in December and the
Board’s seasonally adjusted index was at 84 percent of the 1923-1925 average
as compared with 89 in November. The decline reflected chiefly a continued
sharp curtailment of activity in the durable goods industries. Steel ingot pro­
duction averaged about 26 percent of capacity, output of automobiles and
plate glass was reduced considerably, and production of lumber and cement
aiso declined. Total output of nondurable goods declined seasonally. There
was a sharp decrease in output at silk mills, and cotton consumption declined
further. At woolen mills and shoe factories, however, output was maintained,
following a considerable period of sharp decline. Activity at sugar refineries
increased further. Mineral production in December, as in other recent months,
wag
a
\e Y e \t Output of crude petroleum and bituminous coal declined
seasonally, while anthracite production increased somewhat.

MONTHLY REVIEW

FACTORY EM PLO Y M EN T AND PAYRO LLS

7

In the first three weeks o f January output of steel and automobiles in­
creased somewhat from the extreme low levels reached in the latter part of
December.
Value of construction contracts awarded in December continued in about
the same volume as in the preceding three months. During this period there
was a decline in awards for privately-financed projects, reflecting in large part
further reductions in residential building, while publicly-financed work in­
creased.
EMPLOYMENT

Indexes of number employed and payrolls, with­
out adjustment for seasonal variation, 1923-1925
average=100. By months. January 1934 to De­
cember 1937. Indexes compiled by the U. S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics.

W H O LESALE

PR IC E S

Factory employment and payrolls showed further declines between the
middle of November and the middle of December, and employment at mines,
on the railroads, and in the construction industry also continued to decrease.
The decline in the number employed at factories was larger than in earlier
months in industries producing durable goods, and was particularly marked in
the steel, machinery, and automobile industries. For the nondurable goods in­
dustries as a group, the decline in December was about the same as in each of
the previous three months, after allowance for seasonable changes. There
was some increase in employment at shoe factories and little change at plants
producing tobacco products, while most other industries in this group showed
further decreases.
DISTRIBUTION

Department store sales increased in December by about the usual seasonal
amount, and the Board’s adjusted index was 90 percent of the 1923-1925 aver­
age as compared with 91 percent in November and an average of 93 percent
in the first ten months of the year. Mail-order business and sales at variety
stores showed somewhat more than the seasonal* increase, while sales of auto­
mobiles declined substantially. Preliminary reports indicate that in the first
half of January sales at department stores was at about the same level as a
year ago.
Railroad freight-car loadings continued to decline in December, and in
that month were 18 percent lower than the average for the first half of the
year, making allowance for usual seasonal change.
COMMODITY PRICES

Indexes compiled by the U. S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics, 1926=1(M). By weeks, 1934 to week
ending January 15, 1938.

E X C E S S R E S E R V E S OF M E M B E R B AN K S

Wholesale prices of basic commodities, after declining sharply in the
autumn, showed little change in December and the first three weeks of January.
Grains, cotton, print cloths, steel scrap, and bituminous coal increased some­
what, while leather, rayon, and woodpulp prices were reduced. Prices of a
wide variety of finished industrial products showed further declines, and live­
stock products continued to decrease sharply.
BANK CREDIT

Excess reserves of member banks increased in the four weeks ending
January 19 from $1,010,000,000 to $1,370,000,000 and were larger than at
any time since May 1. The post-holiday decline in money in circulation, which
accounted for this growth of excess reserves, was larger than the increase that
occurred before Christmas.
The volume of loans at reporting member banks in 101 leading cities de­
clined sharply in the five weeks ending January 19, while their holdings of
investments showed little net change. Declines occurred in loans to security
brokers and dealers and in commercial loans, which decreased both in New
York City and in other leading cities. Interbank balances were built up during
the period, while other deposits decreased somewhat, reflecting largely the re­
payment of bank loans, partly offset by a return flow of currency from cir­
culation.
MONEY RATES AND BOND YIELDS

Wednesday figures of estimated excess reserves
for all member banks and for selected New York
City banks, January 3, 1934, to January 19, 1938.




The average rate on new issues of 91-day Treasury bills continued in
January at less than Vs of 1 percent, and yields on Treasury notes and bonds
declined to new low levels for recent months. Yields on the highest-grade
corporate bonds also declined somewhat, while those on the lower-grade rail­
road issues rose.