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MONTHLY REVIEW
of Financial and Business Conditions

F ifth
Federal

Federal Reserve Bank, Richmond, Va.

r eser v e

nc

^

D istric t

March 31,1938

O N LY an insignificant change in discounts at the ally awarded for construction in the district last month
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond occurred be­ totaled 33.3 per cent less than the aggregate amount of
tween February 15 and March 15, but there was a rise contracts awarded in February last year. Coal produc­
in the actual circulation of Federal Reserve notes, an tion declined further in February, both on a monthly and
unusual development at this season. Inquiries and ap­ daily basis, in line with lessened demand for fuel from
plications received indicate increased interest in industrial industry, and was approximately 36 per cent below pro­
loans made by the Reserve bank direct to business for duction in the corresponding month in 1937. In cotton
working capital. Member bank reserve deposits rose textiles, the rate of operations in February declined slight­
further during the past month. In reporting member ly from the January rate, and production exceeded sales,
banks, the only marked change in condition figures be­ inventories at mills increasing after falling in January.
tween the middle of February and the middle of March Rayon manufacturers, on the contrary, increased ship­
was a substantial decline in demand deposits. On the ments substantially over January shipments, and only a
other hand, time deposits showed a small increase in small increase in inventories occurred. Reports indicate
member banks during the month, but declined in mutual that rayon weavers and knitters further reduced stocks on
savings banks from the record high figure at the end of hand. Spot cotton prices rose during February but turned
January. Debits to individual accounts in leading cities downward at the end of the month and continued to de­
of the Fifth district continued the decline which began cline in the first half of March. Toward the end of Feb­
in the second half of 1937, and in February showed the ruary when spot cotton prices went above 9 cents per
largest percentage decrease in comparison with debits in pound a considerable amount of cotton was withdrawn
the corresponding month of the preceding year of any from Government loans and sold on the market. Tobacco
sales in February were small, most markets having closed
month since the banking holiday.
for the season. Producers of tobacco received approxi­
All lines of business continued in the recession which
developed last fall, and February showed few signs of mately $187,518,330 for the 1937 crop, an increase of
improvement, but the recession appears to have leveled $48,651,870, or 35 per cent, over $138,866,460 received
out since the turn of the year. Employment data show a for the 1936 crop. Retail trade in department stores in
larger number of idle workers than at any other time February declined about 1 per cent under February 1937
for a year or more, and shortened hours reduced pay­ sales, but held up better than most other lines of business.
rolls in many industries which have not reduced numbers Stocks in department stores at the end of February aver­
on the rolls materially. Bankruptcies in the Fifth dis­ aged 8.4 per cent less than stocks a year earlier, and in
trict increased slightly in number and moderately in most wholesale lines inventories were also somewhat lower
liabilities in comparison with the figures for February this year.
1937, but the record of the Fifth district was better in
There follows a statistical summary of conditions de­
both number and liabilities than the National record. scribed above:
Registrations of new automobiles in February fell 38.3
9o
/
Feb. 1938
Feb. 1937 Change
per cent below the figures for February last year, but the Debits to individual accounts (24
cities) .......................................... .. $ 998,445,000 $1,145,612,000 — 12.8
record for last month was better than the one for January
No. of busines failures, 5th district
45
44 + 2.3
when a decline of 48.3 per cent was reported. Construc­ Liabilities in failures, 5th district.. $
491,000 $
402,000 +22.1
Sales,
$
7,228,625 $
— 1.0
tion continues to lag far below normal levels, although Sales, 53 dept, stores, 5th distrist... $ 8,583,000 $ 7,303,561 — 9.8
125 wholesale firms, 5th dist..
9,511,000
new
8,543
13,849
the estimated value of building permits issued in 31 Fifth Registrations,permitspassenger autos. $ 7,218,914 $ 7,127,198 —38.3
Value bldg.
(31 c itie s ).....
+ 1.3
district cities in February exceeded February 1937 valu­ Value of contracts awarded, 5th dist. $ 14,741,000 $ 22,103,000 — 33.3
Cotton consumption, 5th dist. (bales)
208,857
311,195 — 32.9
ation by 1.3 per cent. On the other hand, contracts actu­ Soft coal mined, U. S. (tons)..........
27,000,000
42,110,000 — 35.9




2

MONTHLY REVIEW

BA N K IN G CONDITIONS
eserve B a n k
Statem ent:
Discounts at the Federal
Reserve Bank of Richmond rose by $38,000 between the
middle of February and the middle of March, and on the
latter date were $412,000 above discounts a year earlier.
Industrial advances declined further by $8,000 during the
month and $552,000 during the year, but interest in in­
dustrial loans has recently increased. No change occurred
in holdings of Government securities last month, but there
was an increase of $2,880,000 during the year. Total
earning assets rose $30,000 between February 15 and
March 15, 1938, and $2,739,000 between March 15, 1937,
and March 15, 1938. The actual circulation of Federal
Reserve notes rose by $992,000 since the middle of Feb­
ruary, an unseasonal development, but during the year
the volume of Federal Reserve notes in actual circulation
decreased by $1,786,000. Member bank reserve deposits
continued to rise last month, increasing by $4,468,000, and
on March 15 reserve balances exceeded those on March
15 last year by $2,299,000. Cash reserves of the Federal
Reserve Bank of Richmond rose $3,590,000 during the
past month, but were substantially the same as at midMarch 1937.

R

000 omitted
Feb. 15
Mar. 15
1938
1938
$
561
$
523
24
24
1,699
1,707
136,297
136,297
138,581
138.551
195,377
196,369
222,014
226,482
311,520
307,930
70.05
69.81

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

Mar. 15
1937
$
149
25
2,251
133,417
135,842
198,155
224,183
311,518
70.54

41 R e p o r t i n g M e m b e r B a n k s : Condi­
tion figures reported by 41 member banks in 12 Fifth
district cities show two material changes during the past
month. Between February 16 and March 16, both this
year, investments in securities declined by $19,078,000, but
nearly all of this drop occurred in one bank. At the same
time, the reporting banks showed a decrease of $12,381,000 in demand deposits, a drop which was distributed
rather evenly among the several institutions. Other
changes in the statement between February 16 and March
16 were small, loans and time deposits rising while reserve
balance at the Reserve bank and cash in vaults declined.
Between March 17, 1937, and March 16, 1938, loans
and discounts in the 41 banks rose $10,567,000, but all
other items declined. Holdings of securities decreased
$48,528,000 during the year, and reserve balance at the
reserve bank dropped $4,261,000. Deposits declined sub­
stantially, demand deposits with a decrease of $ 3 3 ,933,000
accounting for nearly all of it, time deposits falling only
$324,000 during the year.
S

tatem en t

of

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

000
Mar. 16
1938
$243,798
365,449
136,582
16,172
428,730
196,189
0

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

Mar. 17
1937
$233,231
413,977
140,843
17,692
462,663
196,513
0

: Aggregate deposits
in 10 mutual savings banks in Baltimore declined slightly
during February, totaling $219,508,921 on February 28 in
M

u tu al

S

a v in g s




B

a n k

D

e p o s it s

comparison with the record figure of $219,551,305 on
January 31, 1938, but continued higher than deposits a
year earlier, which totaled $214,538,516 on February 28,
1937. Deposits in 4 of the 10 banks rose during Feb­
ruary, but declined in 6 of them.
e b it s to I n d i v i d u a l A c c o u n t s :
Checks cashed against
depositors’ accounts in banks in 24 Fifth district cities in
February 1938 decreased seasonally by 16.9 per cent from
January debits, and also totaled 12.8 per cent less than
debits in February 1937. Every reporting city returned
lower figures for February 1938 than for January, and
all except Portsmouth, Va., reported lower figures than
for February 1937. The February decline in debits in
comparison with February 1937 debits was larger on a
percentage basis than in any other month since the bank­
ing holiday, and reflects the decreased volume of general
business activity this year.

D

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

Feb.
1938

000 omitted
Jan.
Feb.
1937
1938

% of Change
Year
Month

Virginia
Danville . . . . . . .
Lynchburg ........
Newport News .
Norfolk ..............
Portsmouth ___
Richmond ..........
Roanoke ............
West Virginia
Charleston ........
Huntington ___
North Carolina
Asheville ............
Charlotte ..........
Durham ............
Greensboro ........
Wilmington . . . .
Winston-Salem .
South Carolina
Charleston ........
Columbia ..........
Greenville ........
Spartanburg . . .
District Totals , -

$ 333,781
6,291
7,538

$ 333,259
7,456
7,412

— 15.8
— 2.9
— 13.3

— 15.7
— 18.0
— 11.9

207,524

Dist. of Col.
Washington

$ 280,982
6,111
6,533

246,204

236,526

-1 5 .7

— 12.3

6,660
12,421
7,477
40,880
3,487
123,049
20,913

9,396
15,281
8,208
48,509
4,089
160,984
24,308

9,097
13,437
8,819
47,018
3,476
131,888
25,286

— 29.1
— 18.7
— 8.9
— 15.7
— 14.7
— 23.6
— 14.0

— 26.8
— 7.6
— 15.2
-1 3 .1
+
.3
— 6.7
— 17.3

42,714
13,686

49,657
15,602

44,570
15,573

— 14.0
— 12.3

— 4.2
— 12.1

9,954
45,096
22,463
15,170
33,544
9,148
31,744

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

10,896
54,915
25,946
17,540
35,768
10,137
35,106

— 19.0
— 12.9
— 21.5
— 13.7
— 16.1
— 10.3
— 22.0

- 8.6
— 17.9
— 13.4
— 13.5
- 6.2
— 9.8
— 9.6

13,743
22,503
14,983
7,660
$ 998,445

16,766
26,472
18,707
9,054
$1,201,932

16,405
26,557
19,606
8,919
$1,145,612

— 18.0
— 15.0
— 19.9
— 15.4
— 16.9

— 16.2
— 15.3
— 23.6
— 14.1
— 12.8

B U SIN E SS CONDITIONS
E m ploym ent:
Conditions in employment in the Fifth
district continue unsatisfactory, with many people idle and
others working shortened hours. Conditions in Balti­
more and in the Hampton Roads ports are apparently
better than elsewhere, with conditions probably worse in
coal mining sections of West Virginia and textile areas
in the Carolinas. Construction work is giving employ­
ment to only a portion of the workers in building trades,
and unskilled labor finds it especially hard to secure work.
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 January to February:

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

Percentage change from
Jan. 1938 to Feb. 1938
In number
In amount
on payroll
of payroll
+1*7
+
.2
4- 1*0
-f- 1-0
4* *4
+- 3.7
4- 2.1
+ 8.6
— .6
-j- 4.5
+
.1
+2.0

MONTHLY REVIEW
o m m e r c ia l F a il u r e s :
Bankruptcies in both the Fifth
district and the United States declined seasonally in Feb­
ruary in comparison with January, when year-end settle­
ments usually cause a rise in failures, but the February
record this year was worse than the February 1937 record.
The number of insolvencies rose 2.3 per cent in the
district and 48.5 per cent in the Nation in February 1938
over those in February 1937, and liabilities involved in
failures rose 22.1 per cent in the district and 36.7 per
cent in the Nation. The Fifth district showed the smallest
percentage increase in number of failures of all the twelve
Federal Reserve districts, but five districts reported a
better record on liabilities involved. Dun & Bradstreet
insolvency figures are as follows:

C

PERIOD
February 1938 ....................
January 1938 ......................
February 1937 ......................
2 Months, 1938 ..................
2 Months, 1937 ..................

Number of
District
45
49
44
104
105

failures
U. S.
1,071
1,320
721
2,391
1,532

Total Liabilities
District
U. S.
$ 491,000
$13,359,000
719,000
15,035,000
402,000
9,771,000
$1,210,000
$28,394,000
925,000
18,432,000

A utomobile N ew Car R egistrations : Automobile sales
in February continued to lag far behind sales a year
earlier, but the comparison in February with the corre­
sponding month o f 1937 was better than the comparison
in January. Last .month sales o f new passenger cars in
the Fifth district declined 38.3 per cent from the number
sold in February 1937. Virginia made the best record
with a decline of 30.7 per cent, while South Carolina with
a decrease o f 44.3 per cent showed the largest drop.
January registrations of new cars declined 48.3 per cent
from January 1937 registrations, giving a combined de­
crease for the first two months of 1938 of 44.1 per cent.
The following registration figures for new passenger cars
were furnished by R. L. Polk & Co., o f Detroit:
Registrations of New Passenger Cars
states

Maryland .........
D. of Col.............
Virginia ...........
West Virginia . .
No. Carolina . . .
So. Carolina----District .......

Feb.
1938
1,512
1,063
2,023
1,015
1,825
1,105
8,543

Feb.
1937
2,341
1,880
2,921
1,664
3,060
1,983
13,849

%

Change
— 35.4
—43.5
— 30.7
— 39.0
—40.4
— 44.3
—38.3

2 Months 2 Months
1938
1937
3,160
5,714
2,178
4,017
4,464
6,997
2,139
3,967
4,229
8,051
2,289
4,291
18,459
33,037

%

Change
—44.7
—45.8
—36.2
—46.1
— 47.5
— 46.7
—44.1

3

totaled $22,103,000. February 1938 figures therefore
show a decline of 33.3 per cent. Of the February con­
tract awards this year, 39.2 per cent represented resi­
dential construction, compared with 40.3 per cent in
February last year.
Contract award figures are now available by States for
January 1938 and 1937, and are as follows:
Construction Contracts Awarded
STATES
Jan. 1938
Jan. 1937
Maryland .................................
$ 2,935,000
$ 8,978,000
1,565,000
3,650,000
Dist. of Col................................
Virginia ...................................
8,736,000
6,710,000
West Virginia ..........................
1,684,000
760,000
North Carolina ........................
2,839,000
5,046,000
South Carolina ........................
1,921,000
7,586,000
Fifth D istrict......................$19,680,000
$32,730,000

% Change
— 67.3
— 57.1
+ 30.2
+121.6
— 43.7
— 74.7
— 39.9

oal
M in in g :
Bituminous coal production declined
further in February and was 35.9 per cent below Feb­
ruary 1937 output. Coal mined in February 1938 in the
United States totaled 27,000,000 net tons, compared with
30.880.000 tons in January 1938 and 42,110,000 tons in
February 1937. Total production of bituminous coal
during the present coal year to the latest available date—
April 1 , 1937, to March 12, 1938—amounting to 381,141.000 net tons shows a decrease of 11.3 per cent from
429.738.000 tons dug during the corresponding period of
the 1936-1937 season. Shipments of coal through Hamp­
ton Roads ports totaled 3,561,288 tons from January 1,
1938, to March 12, 1938, a decrease of 29.2 per cent
from 5,032,305 tons shipped through the same ports in
the corresponding period ended March 13, 1937.

C

C otto n T e x t il e s :
There was little change in the rate
of operations in cotton textile mills in the Fifth district
in February and early March, but the slight change noted
was downward. Trade reports indicate that sales of un­
finished cloth did not equal production during most of
February and the first half of March, and mill stocks con­
sequently increased again after declining in January.
Prices of textiles sagged further in early March, and
mill margins narrowed somewhat. Consumption of cotton
by States in the Fifth district in February 1938, January
1938, and February 1937, in bales, is shown in the accom­
panying table:

C o n s t r u c t io n :
Building permits issued in 31 Fifth dis­
MONTHS
No. Carolina So. Carolina Virginia
District
trict cities in February 1938 numbered 1,807, with esti­
February 1938 ........................
112,662
86,242
9,953
208,857
mated valuation of $7,218,914, compared with 2,101 per­ January 1938 ...........................
116,448
89,303
10,552
216,303
February 1937 ..........................
171,997
125,472
13,726
311,196
mits issued in February 1937, valued at $7,127,198, a
Months, 1938 ........................
229,110
175,545
20,505
425,160
decrease of 14.0 per cent in number of permits but an 2 Months, 1937 ........................
2
346,412
253,171
27,032
626,615
increase of 1.3 per cent in valuation in the 1938 month.
Spindle activity in January was the same as in Decem­
However, the increase in valuation is chiefly accounted
for by a rise of 114 per cent in Baltimore, where one ber, an average of 214 hours per spindle in place for the
permit for a group of apartments was issued for more United States as a whole. However, South Carolina with
than $1,000,000. Other large increases in valuation figures an average of 272 hours dropped from first to third place
were reported for Charleston, W. Va., High Point, N. C., among the cotton manufacturing states, while Virginia
and Columbia, S. C. The five highest valuation figures with 231 hours was seventh and North Carolina with 217
for February were reported as follows: Baltimore $3,hours was eighth. Both South Carolina and Virginia
339,507, Washington $1,396,435, Charleston, W. Va.
showed lower figures for January than for December, but
$452,706, Richmond $282,379, and Columbia, S. C.
North Carolina hours of operation rose slightly in the
$248,965.
Contracts actually awarded for all types of construction later month. Total spindle hours of operation in January
work in the Fifth district in February totaled only numbered 5,682,452,696 hours, of which the Carolinas and
$14,741,000, according to figures collected by the F. W. Virginia accounted for 3,012,465,647 hours, or 53 per
Dodge Corporation. Last year February contract awards cent, compared with 53.4 per cent in December 1937.




MONTHLY REVIEW

4

R ayon :
The Rayon Organon index of deliveries of
rayon yarn by manufacturers £o weavers and knitters rose
from 240 in December through 372 in January to 493
in February, but shipments in February were far below
those of February last year when the index stood at 721.
These figures are based on average monthly shipments in
1923-1925 as 100. Inventories of yarn rose slightly dur­
ing February, in spite of sharply increased shipments, and
the supply on hand at the end of the month represented 3
months’ requirements compared with 2.8 months’ supply
on hand at the end of January. Reports indicate that
rayon grey goods and finished goods continued to decline
in February, the increased shipments of yarn during the
month having been used to meet current requirements.
Loom activity showed substantial increase during Feb­
ruary, and at the middle of the month reached the highest
point since last October in most constructions.

Spot cotton prices advanced during February
and middling grade upland cotton averaged 9.20 cents per
pound on ten Southern markets on February 25, but after
that date the price weakened and gradually declined to
an average of 8.58 cents on March 18, a decrease of ap­
proximately $3 per bale. While the price was above 9
cents some cotton was withdrawn from Government loan
stocks and sold by the growers. The Commodity Credit
Corporatibn reports that about 5,112,000 bales from the
1937 crop were pledged on Government loans through
March 18, of which 114,000 bales had been repossessed
by producers for sale on the market. Consumption of
cotton in American mills in February was the lowest for
any month since July 1935, and exports were also low.
Japan again led in cotton taken with 107,878 bales, the
United Kingdom ranking second with 97,610 bales.
C

o tto n

:

Cotton Consumed and On Hand
(Bales)
Feb.
Feb.
1938
1937
Fifth district states:
Cotton consumed .................
Cotton growing states:
Cotton consumed .................
Cotton on hand Feb. 28 in
Consuming establishments
Storage & Compresses----United States:
Cotton consumed .........
Cotton on hand Feb. 28 in
Consuming establishments
Storage & Compresses . . .
Exports of cotton .............

208,857

555,118

2,992,415

3,778,643

1,529,373 1,723,964
11,565,954 5,851,494
427,528

665,677

3,512,826 4,520,965

1,814,997 2,061,120
11,655,837 5,961,745
486,411 4,230,991
398,744

3,921,493

obacco
M a r k e t in g :
Only a little tobacco was sold
during February in the Fifth district, most of the markets

T

L iv e S t o c k o n F
KINDS
Horses & colts...........

1938
1937
Mules & mule colts.. ,,1938
1937
Cattle & calves......... ., ..1938
1937
Sheep & lambs........... , , ,1938
1937
Hogg & pigs...................1938
1937




Maryland
80,000
81,000
28,000
28,000
310.000
307.000
81,000
84,000
191.000
184.000

arm s

Virginia
167.000
167.000
94.000
96.000
869.000
852.000
391.000
395.000
663.000
663.000

1937-1938
1936-1937
% Increase
$141,056,845
$100,132,806
41
21,112,830
13,890,189
52
25,348,655________24,843,465_______2_
$187,518,330
$138,866,460
35

STATES
North Carolina ...............
South Carolina ...............
Virginia ..........................
3 States ......................

T obacco M a n u f a c t u r in g :
The Bureau of Internal
Revenue reports tobacco products manufactured in Feb­
ruary 1938 and 1937 as follows:

Feb. 1938

Smoking & Chewing
Tobacco, Pounds .............
Cigarettes, Number ...............
Cigars, Number ......................
Snuff, Pounds ........................
R

e t a il

T

rade

in

D

Sto

epartm ent

Same stores by
States, with 23
stores added:
Virginia (11). . .
West Va. ( 9 ) ...
No. Carolina (7)
So. Carolina (11)
District (53)..

+ 9.5
— 3.8
— 4.8
— .9
—

T

holesale

+
+
—
—

1.0

rade,

—

125

F

< >Change

Feb. 1937

22,239,585
11,492,025,877
338,887,418
2,837,798

23,518,835
12,328,242,420
362,935,056
2,924,683
res

Shoes (4)
Elec. Goods (20) ...........
Groceries (23) .................
Gen. Hardware (21) . . . .
Indus. Supplies (11) ----Plumbing & Heating (9)
Paper & Products (6 )..
Miscellaneous (11) .........
All Firms (125) .........

— 15.7
— 10.0
— 13.5
—25.2
— 5.3
— 6.8
—30.8
— 12.3
— 15.9
+ 5.4
— 9.8

—
—

6.8
6.6

— 3.0

Batio Feb.
collections
to accounts
outstanding
February 1
30.1
30.3
26.1
26.6
27.9

8.9
2.9
3.7
3.7

.2

ir m s

:

Net Sales
Stocks
Feb. 1938
Febc 28, 1938
compared with
comp. with
Feb.
Jan. Feb. 28 Jan 31
1937
1938 1937
1938

LINES

— 5.4

:

Stocks
Net Sales
Net Sales
Feb. 1938 Jan. 1 to date Feb. 28, 1938
comp, with compared with compared with
February
same period Feb. 38 Jan. 31
last year
1937
1938
1937
+ 11.5
+ 10.1
+ 3.5 + 4.8
— 4.5
— 1.8
— 9.8 +11.8
— 1.2
— 1.7
— 11.6 + 8.8
— 6.6
— 3.4
— 2.4 +10.7
— 1.3
— .5
— 8.4 + 9.6

Richmond (3)
Baltimore (8)
Washington (6)
Other Cities (13)
District (30) .

W

Aug. 1 to Feb. 28
This Year Last Year

311,195

360,558

having closed prior to or early in that month. However,
a few markets in Virginia did not close until the second
week in March, and therefore total sales figures for the
1937-1938 season are not yet available. On the basis of
sales made to the end of February, cash receipts by
tobacco growers from the 1937 crop were approximately
as follows, in comparison with receipts from the 1936
crop:

+ 65.7
— 11.1
— 1.0
+ 8.9
— 4.9
— 9.9
— 2.0
— 8.9
- 3.8
- 1.8
+ .9

— 19.6
+ -5
— 14.5
+ 14.7
- 9.1
+ 4.4
— 4.1
—27.8
+ 7.6
+ 1.1
- 5.6

— 2.1
+ 1.5
0.0
+ 1.5
— 3.1
+ 2.2
— 2.9
—22.1
+ 4.1
- 4.1
— 2.1

Ratio Feb.
collections
to accounts
outstanding
February 1
40.8
93.2
38.7
82.1
93.2
45.6
63.9
48.1
61.5
60.9
60.3

Note: The wholesale trade figures are included through the courtesy of
the Bureau of Foreign & Domestic Commerce. Only 97 of the 125 whole­
sale firms reported on receivables and collections, and only 76 on stocks.

, J a n u a r y 1,

W. Virginia
96.000
96.000
12,000
12,000!
588.000
576.0001
552.000
547.000
209.000
213.000

1938

and

1937:

No. Carolina
69.000
69.000
305.000
301.000
638.000
651.000
62,000
62,000
1.133.000
1.111.000

(Compiled March 21, 1938)

So. Carolina
20,000
20,000
187.000
189.000
352.000
374.000
11,000
11,(000
540.000
550.000

District
432.000
433.000
626,000
626,000
2,757,000
2,760^000
1.097.000
1.099.000
2.736.000
2.721.000

u. a
11.1163.000
11.445.000
4,477,0*00
4,571,000
<65,930,000
66,448,000
52.918.000
52.588.000
44^418,000
42,948,000

MONTHLY REVIEW, March 31, 1938

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK: OF RICHMOND

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

Volume of manufacturing production showed little change from January
to February, while output of minerals declined further. Awards for residential
building increased somewhat in February and rose considerably in the first half
of March.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

PRODUCTION

Index of physical volume of production, ad­
justed for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average
=100. By months, January 1934 to February 1938.

F R E IG H T -C A R LOADING S

The Board’s seasonally adjusted index of industrial production, which in­
cludes both manufacturing and mining, was 79 percent of the 1923-1925 aver­
age in February as compared with 80 percent in January. The decline in the
total index was accounted for chiefly by a reduction in output of minerals, par­
ticularly of crude petroleum. Steel ingot production showed about the usual
seasonal increase and averaged 32 percent of capacity in February. Auto­
mobile production decreased slightly further, and output of plate glass con­
tinued to decline. Lumber production rose seasonally. In the first three weeks
of March activity at steel mills and automobile factories was at about the same
average rate as in February. In the nondurable goods industries there were
moderate increases in output in February at textile mills and shoe factories,
where production has recently been at low levels, while at meat-packing estab­
lishments activity declined.
Value of construction contracts awarded, as reported by the F. W. Dodge
Corporation, showed a sharp decline from January to February, reflecting
chiefly a marked reduction in awards for publicly-financed projects. Contracts
for residential building increased moderately. In the first half of March there
was a considerable further increase reported for residential building and awards
for other construction also increased.
EMPLOYMENT

justed for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average
=100. By months, January 1934 to February 1938.

Factory employment and payrolls increased by somewhat less than the
usual seasonal amount between the middle of January and the middle of Feb­
ruary. The Board’s seasonally adjusted index of factory employment was at
83 percent of the 1923-1925 average in February as compared with 84 in
January. In the durable goods industries decreases were general in February,
though not so large as in preceding months. Employment in nondurable goods
industries increased somewhat following a period of rapid decline. Employ­
ment in trade, at mines, on the railroads, and in the construction and public
utility industries decreased somewhat from the January level.
DISTRIBUTION

W H O L E SA L E

Value o f department store sales, as measured by the Board’s seasonally
adjusted index, declined from 90 percent of the 1923-1925 average in January
to 88 percent in February, and in the first three weeks of March there was a
further decrease. Sales at variety stores and mail order houses in February
showed somewhat less than the usual seasonal increase.
Freight-car loadings decreased further in February, reflecting chiefly re­
duced shipments of coal and grain, and showed a seasonal increase in the first
two weeks of March. The current level of carloadings is about 25 percent less
than a year ago.

P R IC E S

J

COMMODITY PRICES
-

-

Index compiled by the U. S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics, 1926 =100. By weeks, 1934 to week
ending March 19, 1938.

EXCESS RESERVES OF MEMBER BANKS

The general level of wholesale - commodity prices, as measured by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics’ index, showed little change from the middle of
February to the third week of March. There were seasonal increases in prices
of livestock and meats, while prices of such basic commodities as wheat, cotton,
rubber, zinc, and bituminous coal declined.
BANK CREDIT

Excess reserves of member banks increased during the first three weeks
of March to over $1,500,000,000, the highest level since last April. The bulk
of the increase occurred at New York City banks, which in the third week of
the month held over $700,000,000 of excess reserves.
During February and the first half of March, there was little net change
in deposits and in total loans and investments at reporting member banks in
101 leading cities. Holdings of United States Government obligations declined
at banks in New York but increased in Chicago. Commercial loans, which
had decreased sharply in the four preceding months, showed a further moderate
decline.
MONEY RATES AND BOND YIELDS

of all member banks and for selected New York
City banks, January 3, 1934, to March 12, 1938.




Conditions in the short-term money market continued easy in March. Rates
on Treasury bills were slightly lower and prime commercial paper was quoted
at a range of from % to 1 percent as against the flat 1 percent rate which had
prevailed since a year ago. Yields on Treasury bonds and notes, after declining
for the past six months, advanced slightly around the middle of March. Yields
on corporate bonds also advanced in March, reflecting principally declines in
prices of railroad bonds.

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