View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

MONTHLY

REVIEW

o f Financial and Business Conditions

F ifth
Federal

Re s e r v e
D is tr ic t

Federal Reserve Bank, Richmond, Va.

March 31, 1939
January 1939

Debits to individual accounts (24 cities)..
Number of business failures, 5th dist........
Liabilities in failures, 5th dist.................
Sales, 30 department stores, 5th dist..........
Sales, 206 wholesale firms, 5th dist...........
Registrations, new passenger autos......
Value of bldg. permits, 31 cities................
Value of contracts awarded, 5th dist....
Cotton consumption, 5th dist. (B a les)....
Rayon yarn shipments, U. S. (P ou nds)....
Soft coal mined, U. S. (T o n s)....................

E B R U A R Y is a between-seasons month, and business
on the whole is at about the lowest level o f the year,
but trade in February in the Fifth district this year was
up to seasonal levels and materially exceeded that of
February last year in all lines except retail trade in de­
partment and general stores. Retail sales were in fact
somewhat better this year in smaller cities and towns,
but lower sales in all o f the larger cities except W ashing­
ton pulled the district average below the 1938 level.
Debits to individual accounts in February in twenty-four
Fifth district cities exceeded debits in February 1938 by
4 per cent, although there was a seasonal decrease from
January debits, due to a large volume of annual settle­
ments made early in the first month o f the year. W hile
bankruptcies last month showed the usual drop from the
January number, they were more numerous than in Feb­
ruary last year, but liabilities involved were lower last
month than those in either January 1939 or February
1938. Wholesale trade in 206 firms, representing more
than a dozen lines, averaged 3 per cent above the volume
o f business in February last year, and retail furniture
sales were larger than a year earlier in all Fifth district
states except Maryland. Sales o f new automobiles de­
clined in February from January sales, a normal develop­
ment, but exceeded February 1938 sales by 51 per cent.
The District of Columbia increased automobile sales by
101 per cent last month over February 1938 sales. Build­
ing permits issued in February were approximately the
same in value as in the corresponding month last year,
while contracts awarded for construction work in the dis­
trict totaled 29 per cent above the value o f contracts

F




February 1939

February 1938

% Change
Mo. Year

$1,215,303,000
68
618,000
$
6,544,101
$
$ 10,138,000
13,771
$ 10,266,893
$ 26,203,000
287,869
27,100,000
35,530,000

$1,034,770,000
65
469,000
$
6,574,227
$
9,813,000
$
12,895
7,216,892
$
$ 19,053,000
270,630
25,700,000
33,910,000

$ 998,445,000
47
$
548,000
6,670,504
$
9,489,000
$
8,543
7,218,914
$
$ 14.741,000
'208,857
16,800,000
27,440,000

— 15 + 4
— 4 + 38
—24 — 14
+ 1 — 1
— 3 + 3
— 7 +51
— 30
0
— 27 + 29
— 6 +30
— 5 + 53
— 5 +24

awarded in February last year. Textile mills continued
to operate last month at substantially the same rate as in
January, and about 30 per cent above the February 1938
rate. Production o f rayon yarn was well maintained last
month, and shipments to converters were 53 per cent
above shipments a year ago. Stocks o f rayon yarn held
by producers at the end o f February were 36 per cent
lower than on February 28, 1938. Bituminous coal pro­
duction last month slightly exceeded January output on a
daily basis, and was 24 per cent above output in February
last year. Farm work was considerably delayed by rains
during February and the first half o f March, and spring
plowing and planting is behind schedule, but there is
plenty o f moisture in the ground, fall sown grains have
made good development, and fruit trees have not suffered
any damage from freeze or frosts. Abundant rains and
mild temperatures brought out grass on pasture lands
quite early this year. In accounting for the favorable
showing o f February 1939 relative to February 1938, at­
tention is called to the marked increase in value o f con­
tracts awarded as reported in the last several issues o f
this Review. In addition, cotton consumption has been
well sustained for some time, indicating a favorable situ­
ation with respect to employment in textile mills. Rayon
shipments have also shown a pronounced increase and the
same is true o f coal mined, indicating a favorable income
position for labor employed in these industries. T o these
factors must be added the favorable effect of funds dis­
tributed to farmers by Federal agencies, since they tend
to mitigate the unfavorable turn in the purchasing power
o f cotton planters.

MONTHLY REVIEW

2
R

e se r ve

Bank O

p e r a t io n s

:

T h e fo llo w in g table sh ow s

p rin cip al item s o f con d ition fr o m statem ents o f the F e d ­
eral R es e rv e B a n k o f

R ich m o n d , the latest m id -m on th

figu res bein g com p a red to th ose a m on th and a year
earlier. N o sign ifican t ch a n ges o ccu rr e d d u rin g the past
m onth.
000
Mar. 15
1939
$
170
24
1,204
133,524
$134,922
195,961
233,510
351,097
73.05

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 .....................................
Statem en t
m ents

in

of

41 R e p o r t in g M

secu rities

in

41

em ber

reg u la rly

omitted
Feb. 15
Mar. 15
1939
1938
$
10
4<
$
561
24
24
1,249
1,699
133,524____ 136,297
$134,937
$138,581
196,427
196,369
229,093
226,482
361,713
311,520
73.78
70.05

Banks :

r e p o rtin g

In v est­
m em ber

banks in 12 F ift h d istrict cities in creased b y $ 1 6 ,6 6 1 ,0 0 0
betw een F e b ru a ry 15 an d M a r ch 15, this y ear, and de­
posits ro se b y $ 5 ,8 8 6 ,0 0 0 , o f

w h ich $ 4 ,8 7 6 ,0 0 0 w as in

dem an d d eposits and $ 1 ,0 1 0 ,0 0 0 w as tim e d eposits.
in g the year betw een M a r ch

16,

D ur­

1938, an d M a r ch

15,

1939, in vestm ents in secu rities ro se b y $ 8 1 ,3 7 2 ,0 0 0 and
dem an d

d eposits

rose

clin ed b y $ 1 1 ,5 9 6 ,0 0 0 .
statem ent d u rin g

both

by

$ 4 0 ,1 7 8 ,0 0 0 ,

w h ile

loans

de­

the m on th

and y ear

w ere little

000 omitted
Feb. 15
Mar. 15
1939
1939

item s

Loans and’ discounts .........................
Investments in securities .................
Reserve bal. with F. R. bank ..........
Cash in vaults ..................................
Demand deposits ...............................
Time deposits ....................................
Money borrowed .................................
utual

$232,202
446,821
145,974
16,889
468,908
198,789
0

S a v in g s B a n k D e p o s it s :

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

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

D ep osits in 10 m u ­

tual savings banks in B a ltim ore declin ed sligh tly in F e b ­
ruary, and at the end o f that m on th w ere lo w e r than a
year earlier f o r the secon d su ccessive m on th .

S ev en o f

the 10 banks rep orted declin es in deposits last m on th , but
on ly 4 rep orted lo w e r figures fo r F e b ru a ry 28, 1939,
than fo r F e b ru a ry 28, 1938.

D ep osits o n F e b ru a ry 28

this year totaled $ 2 1 9 ,4 0 4 ,3 4 0 , com p a re d w ith $2 1 9 ,4 5 2 ,382 on Janu ary 31 this year and $2 19,508,921 on F e b ru ­
ary 2 8 last year.
D e b it s

to

I n d iv id u a l

A

ccoun ts:

The

a ggregate

am ount o f ch eck s cash ed against d e p o s ito rs’ accou n ts in
24 F ifth district cities in F e b ru a ry 1939 sh ow ed a sea­
sonal declin e o f 15 per cent fr o m debits in Janu ary this
year but e x ce e d e d the am oun t o f debits in F e b ru a ry 1938
by 4 per cent.

N e w p o r t N e w s w as the on ly city w h ich

rep orted h igh er figures in F e b ru a ry than in Janu ary, but
17 o f the 2 4 cities e x ce e d e d the F e b ru a ry 1938 debits.
Charlotte, w ith a gain o f 11 per cent, m ade the best c o m ­
pa rison last m on th w ith the co rre sp o n d in g
year.




Marylamd
Baltimore ...........
Cumberland
Hagerstown ___

Feb.
1939

000 omitted
Jan.
Feb.
1939
1938

$ 294,465
6,751
6,305

$ 333,709
7,015
7,312

$ 280,982
6,111
6,533

Dist. of Col.
Washington

220,617

258,068

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

6,606
11,890
8,110
41,099
3,695
125,481
22,806

West Virginia
Charleston .........
Huntington . . . .
North Carolina
Asheville .............
Charlotte ...........
Durham .............
Greensboro .........
Raleigh ...............
Wilmington
Winston-Salem .

% of Change
Year
Month
— 12
— 4
— 14

+ 5
+ 10
- 3

207,524

-1 5

+

6

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

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

— 21
— 21
+ 2
— 15
— 9
— 21
— 8

—
—
+
+
+
+
+

1
4
8
1
6
2
8

38,754
13,177

44,580
15,734

42,714
13,686

— 13
— 16

— 9
— 4

10,152
50,073
22,345
16,630
33,698
8,753
32,482

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

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

— 17
— 10
— 10
— 8
— 31
— 17
— 15

+ 2
+ 11
— 1
+ 10
0
— 4
+ 2

South Carolina
Charleston .........
14,745
16,644
13,743
Columbia ...........
22,562
27,194
22,503
Greenville ...........
15,851
19,794
14,983
Spartanburg .. .
7,723
10,406
7,660
District Totals . .
$1,034,770
$1,215,303
$ 998,445
0 indicates increase of less than y 2 of 1% .

— 11
— 17
— 20
— 26
-1 5

+
+
+
+

7
0
6
1
4

O th e r changes in the com p osite

m o re than daily fluctuations.

M

CITIES

m on th

last

E m ploym ent:
N o material change occurred in employ­
ment conditions in the Fifth Reserve district during the
past month, but unfavorable weather handicapped out­
side work considerably and workers in constructions fields
lost some time, resulting in decreased payrolls. A few
additional workers were thrown out of employment by
the closing o f a small number o f tobacco markets which
remained open after the middle o f February, but an in­
crease in construction work started in February and the
first half o f March more than made up for that decline.
The following figures, compiled for the most part by the
Bureau o f Labor Statistics from reports furnished by a
large number o f industries exclusive o f construction, show
the trends o f employment and payrolls in the Fifth dis­
trict from January to February :

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

Percentage change from
Jan. 1939 to Feb. 1939
In number
In amount
on payroll
of payroll
+ 1.8
+ 2.5
— 0.2
— 1.5
+ 1 .2
+ 2.3
+ 0.4
+ 3.0
+ 0.9
20
+ 0.8
+1.2

+ .'

C o m m e r c ia l F a il u r e s :
Bankruptcies in the Fifth dis­
trict in February showed seasonal reductions in both the
number o f failures and in amount o f liabilities involved
in comparison with January 1939 figures, and liabilities
last month were also lower than those for February last
year, but the number o f insolvencies was larger this year.
In the first two months o f 1939, the number o f failures
in the district rose 24 per cent while liabilities involved
declined 23 per cent in comparison with corresponding
figures in the first two months o f 1938.

Dun & Bradstreet failure statistics for several periods
are as follow s:

MONTHLY REVIEW
Number of Failures
District U. S.

PERIODS
February 1939 .....................
January 1939 .......................
February 1938 .......................
2 Months, 1939 .....................
2 Months, 1938 .....................

65
68
47
133
107

963
1,263
1,149
2,226
2,526

Total Liabilities
District
U. S.
$ 469,000
618,000
548,000
$1,087,000
1,403,000

$12,788,000
19,122,000
21,028,000
$31,910,000
42,443,000

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 :
The number o f
new passenger automobiles sold in the Fifth district in
February declined 7 per cent from January sales, a sea­
sonal decrease due to the shorter month, but increased 51
per cent over sales in February last year. Last month’s
sales were only 7 per cent less than those for February
1937, and were 21 per cent above sales in February 1936.
Registrations in the first two months of 1939 in the dis­
trict were 44 per cent greater than in 1938 and 11 per
cent larger than in 1936, but were 19 per cent less than
in 1937. The following figures on registrations o f new
passenger cars were furnished by R. L. Polk & Co., o f
D etroit:

A

Registrations of New Passenger Cars
STATES
Maryland ...........
Dist. of Col..........
Virginia .............
West Virginia .
North Carolina .
South Carolina .
District

Feb.
1939
2,297
2,138
2,608
1,330
2,803
1,719
12,895

Feb.
1938

Change

1,512
1,063
2,023
1,015
1,825
1,105
8,543

+ 52
+ 101
+ 29
+ 31
+ 54
+ 56
+ 51

c
/o

2 Months 2 Months
1939
1938
4,783
3,420
5,649
2,753
6,412
3,649
26,666

3,160
2,178
4,464
2,139
4,229
2,289
18,459

%
Change
+
+
+
+
+
+
+

51
57
27
29
52
59
44

C o n s t r u c t io n :
Building permits issued in 31 Fifth
district cities in February totaled $7,216,892, approxi­
mately the same as $7,218,914 for February 1938. Six­
teen cities reported larger figures and 15 reported smaller
figures last month than for the corresponding month last
year. Washington led in estimated valuation figures for
February 1939 with $3,227,041, followed by Charleston,
S. C., with $849,292, Baltimore with $645,492, Richmond
with $452,633, and Durham with $342,060. O f the 7
largest cities in the district, higher valuation figures were
reported for Washington, Richmond, N orfolk and W in ­
ston-Salem, while lower figures were reported for Balti­
more, Charlotte and Huntington.
Contracts actually awarded for all types of construction
work in the Fifth district in February totaling $19,053,000 showed a seasonal reduction from recent months, but
exceeded February 1938 awards amounting to $14,741,000
by 29 per cent. O f the February contract awards this
year, 43 per cent represented residential construction, com­
pared with 39 per cent in February 1938.
Figures collected by the F. W . Dodge Corporation by
states for February 1939 and 1938 are as follow s:
Construction Contracts Awarded
STATES
Maryland
.................
Dist of Col.................
Virginia
...................
West Virginia . . . . .
North Carolina ___
South Carolina ___
Fifth District .

February 1939
February 1938 % Change
$ 4,697,000
$ 3,047,000
-(-54
3,307,000
1,802,000
+84
4,413,000
3,154,000
+40
2,874,000*
1,482,000*
+94
2,771,000
3,933,000
— 30
1,410,000___________ 1,539,000_________ — 8
$19,472,000*
$14,957,000*
+30

* Contains a few contracts outside Fifth District.
C oal M in in g :
Bituminous coal mined in February in
the United States totaled 33,910,000 net tons, a decrease
o f 5 per cent from 35,530,000 tons in the longer month
o f January 1939 but an increase o f 24 per cent over




3

27,440,000 tons mined in February 1938. On a daily
basis, output o f 1,419,000 tons last month exceeded daily
output in January by 2 / 10th o f 1 per cent. Total pro­
duction o f bituminous coal during the present coal year
to the latest available date— April 1, 1938, to March 11,
1939— amounting to 339,276,000 net tons shows a de­
crease o f 9.9 per cent from 376,618,000 tons dug during
the corresponding period o f the 1937-1938 season. Ship­
ments of coal through Hampton Roads ports totaled 4,427,294 tons from January 1, 1939, through March 11,
1939, an increase o f 24 per cent over 3,561,288 tons
shipped through the same ports in the corresponding
period ended March 12, 1938. Most o f the increase in
shipments through Hampton Roads was in New England
cargo coal.
C otto n T e x t il e s :
Cotton mill operations in the Fifth
district were well maintained in February and early
March, and indications are that sales o f textiles in the
last two weeks o f February exceeded production, but in
spite o f increased demand for yarn and unfinished cloth,
prices for textiles continued a downward tendency and
mill margins in the week ended February 24 were the
narrowest since the middle o f May 1933. Yarn prices
continue somewhat steadier than cloth prices, but the lat­
ter showed a firmer tendency early in March as spring
demand strengthened. Consumption o f cotton by states
in the Fifth district in February 1939, January 1939 and
February 1938, in bales, is shown in the accompanying
table:
Virginia

District

February 1939 .............
January 1939 ...............
February 1938 ...............

MONTHS

No. Carolina So. Carolina
148,164
157,469
112,662

111,097
118,879
86,242

11,369
11,521
9,953

270,630
287,869
208,857

2 Months, 1939 ...........
2 Months, 1938 ...........

305,633
229,110

229,976
175,545

22,890'
20,505

558,499
425,160

R ayon :
Deliveries o f rayon filament yarn to domestic
consumers in February amounted to 25,700,000 pounds
as compared with 27,100,000 pounds in January 1939 and
16.800.00 pounds in February 1938, according to the
Rayon Organon for March. Stocks o f rayon yarn held
by producers at the end o f February totaled 39,500,000
pounds, which is substantially the same as 39,400,000
pounds held at the end o f January but is far below 61,100.000 pounds held on February 28, 1938. During the
past year rayon yarn prices declined between 5 and 6 per
cent, while raw silk prices advanced approximately 28 per
cent. A s a result o f this price advantage, there has re­
cently been a wide switch from silk to rayon in woven
dress fabrics and underwear.
C otton :
Spot cotton prices on 10 Southern markets
were higher between the middle o f February and the
middle o f March than during the preceding month, al­
though there was a sharp drop during the week ended
March 17. On February 17 the average price on the 10
markets for middling grade cotton was 8.50 cents per
pound, but by March 10 the average had risen to 8.80
cents. However, by March 17 the average price re­
ceded to 8.66 cents. Some mills report a scarcity o f high
grade “ free” cotton, the large surplus supplies being held
under Government loans. Latest reports show holdings

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

by the Commodity Credit Corporation amounting to more
than 11,300,000 bales.
Cotton Consumed and o n Hand
<
(Bales)
Feb.
Feb.
1939
1938

1,907,118

1,720,450

3,350,153

2,987,251

3,504,538

3,954,101

2,456,207

4,230,991

Tobacco markets have all closed
in the Fifth district and sales at auction from the 1938
crop totaled 701,308,109 pounds, a decrease o f 13.1 per
cent from 807,022,051 pounds sold of the 1937 crop. The
average price received by growers this year was $22.37
per hundred pounds, a decline o f 3.7 per cent from the
1937 average of $23.24. Total receipts by growers of
$156,907,383 for the 1938 crop shows a decrease o f 16.3
per cent from $187,572,233 received for the 1937 crop.
Season sales and prices by states on auction markets were
as fo llo w s:
obacco

M

a r k e t in g

STATES
North Carolina ...............
South Carolina ...............
District

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

Total

Virginia classified:
Flue-cured
...................
Fire-cured .....................
Burley ...........................
Sun-cured .....................

:

Season Tobacco Sales, Lbs.
1938-1939
1937-1938
501,641,989
577,644,681
86,670,522
101,352,469
112,995,598
128,024,901
701,308,109
807,022,051
87,321,272
14,368,199
9,202,450
2,103,677

92,849,989
19,853,610
12,342,423
2,978,879

Price per Cwt.
1938-39 1937-38
$24.42
$22.92
20.83
22.23
19.84
20.04
$23.24
$22.37
$22.09
10.75
16.77
12.75

$22.20
10.69
19.41
8.95

The Bureau o f Internal
Revenue reports tobacco products manufactured in Feb­
ruary 1939 and 1938 as fo llo w s:

T

obacco

M

a n u f a c t u r in g

:

Feb. 1939
Smoking & chewing
Tobacco, Pounds
Cigarettes, Number .
Cigars, Number ........
Snuff, Pounds ...........




T

e t a il

rade

Feb. 1938

22,445,896
11,781,749,850
361,233,088
2,978,851

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

< >Change

+1
+ 3

+7
+ 5

in

D

epartm ent

Sto

res

:

Net Sales
Net Sales
Stocks
Feb. 1939 Jan. 1 to d'ate
Feb. 28, 1939
comp, with compared with
comp, with
February
Jan. 31
same period Feb. 28
1938
last year
1938
1939

Aug. 1 to Feb. 28
This Year Last Year

Fifth district states:
Cotton consumed .................
208,857
270,630
Cotton growing states:
Cotton consumed .................
475,112
360,238
Cotton on hand Feb. 28 in
Consuming establishments
1,342,292 1,525,862
Storage & compresses . . .
14,009,511 11,384,919
United States:
Cotton consumed .................
562,293
426,866
Cotton on hand Feb. 28 in
Consuming establishments
1,558,818 1,808,467
Storage & compresses ........... 14,068,684 11,474,802
Exports of cotton ............................
263,922
398,744
Spindles active, U. S....................... 22,524,742 22,346,736
T

R

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

—
—
+
+
—

8.2
2.8
1.1
.7
1.4

— 4.3
— 5.1
+
.8
— .1
— 2.0

Same stores by
States, with 24
stores added:
Virginia (13) ..
West Va. (9) . .
No. Carolina (8)
So. Carolina (10)

— 7.1

— 4.5

—

—

1.8

+

Ratio Feb.
collections
to accounts
outstanding
February 1

3.4

R

F

e t a il

+

1.2

3.4

+ 1.8

u r n it u r e

4—
+
+
+

3.3
1.3
1.8
5.1
1.2

+
+
+
+
+

30.9
30.3
26.2
28.1
28.2

9.4
10.1
10.2
13.2
10.4

+ 1.2
S

a l e s

:
% Change in Sales, Feb. & 2 Months 1939

Compared with
February 1938

states

Maryland, 9 stores.............
Dist. of Col., 7 stores___
Virginia, 9 stores...............
North Carolina, 4 stores.
South Carolina, 7 stores.
District, 36 stores . . . .

— 15.3

+
+
+
+

holesale

T

rade,

LINES

Auto Supplies (7) . . . .
Shoes (3) ........................
Drugs (9) .......................
Dry Goods (9) .............
Electrical Goods ( 14) . .
Groceries (68) ...............
Hardware (21) .............
Industrial Supplies (11)
Plumb’g & Heating (6)
Paper & Products (9).
Tobacco & Pr’d’cts ( 12)
Miscellaneous (37) . . .
Average, 206 Firms.

(Compiled March 21, 1939)

6.6

—

1.0

+ 4.7
-1-14.1

4.2
1.0

+

2.2

206

F

ir m s

.5

+
+

4.8
3.9

— 15.3
— 3.0
— 16.7
+ 1.0

Individual Cities:
Baltimore, 9 stores. . . .
Columbia, 3 stores. . . .
Richmond, 5 stores. . . .
Washington, 7 stores..

W

Compared with
2 Months 1938

—

10.2

+
+

5.6
4.7

:

Net Sales
Stocks
February 1939
Feb. 28, 1939
compared with
compared with
Feb.
Jan. Feb. 28
Jan. 31
1938
1939
1938
1939
+ 23
+ 21
+ 5
— 2
+ 40
— 5
— 4
+ 28
— 1
+ 7
+ 7
— 2
+ 3

— 9
+ 29
— 9
+ 5
+ 7 '
— 5
— 15
— 4
— 11
— 5
— 4
— 4
— 3

Ratio Feb.
collections
to accounts
outstanding
February 1

— 8

+

2

65

— 6
— 18
— 17
— 7
0
+ 4
— 6
— 17
— 2
— 1
— 5

—
+
+
+
+
+
+
—
+
—

2
1
3
1
3
6
2
5
2
2
0

95
41
80
85
40
58
45
58
69
61
60

MONTHLY REVIEW, March 31, 1939

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

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

In F ebru ary industrial activity continu ed at the January rate, w ithout
show ing the usual rise, and retail trade increased less than seasonally. In the
first three w eeks o f M arch, h ow ever, industrial activity and trade show ed sea­
sonal increases. C om m odity prices continu ed to show little change.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

PRODUCTION

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

FACTORY EMPLOYMENT

onal variation,
1923-1925
average=100.
months, January 1934 to February 1939.

By

CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS AWARDED

V olum e o f industrial production w as at abou t the same rate in F ebru ary
as in the tw o previous months, although usually there is an increase, and the
B oa rd’ s seasonally adju sted index declined fu rth er to 98 p ercen t o f the 19231925 average. In the steel industry activity did n o t show the usual seasonal
advance. P ig iron production increased, bu t new orders f o r steel w ere in lim ­
ited volum e and in got production rem ained at abou t 54 p ercen t o f capa city
th roughou t the month. There was som e decline in au tom obile assem blies, f o l­
low in g a period o f considerable increase.
O utput o f lu m ber and plate glass
continued to decrease in F ebru ary, w hile cem ent produ ction , w hich had been
curtailed in January, increased considerably. In the first three w eeks o f M arch
steel production increased to about 56 percen t o f capacity and au tom obile ou t­
put was also in som ewhat larger volum e.
T extile production in F ebru ary w as at about the same rate as in January.
A t cotton and w oolen mills activity increased som ew hat but at silk mills there
was a m arked decline. O utput o f shoes and tob a cco products continu ed at high
levels. In the m eat-packing industry activity declined fu rth er and there was
also a decrease in activity at sugar refineries.
Bitum inous coal produ ction w as m aintained in F ebru ary, and crude p e tro ­
leum output likewise continued in substantial volum e. A n th racite ou tpu t de­
clined in F ebru ary, and in M arch w as redu ced fu rth er as m ine ow ners and w ork ­
ers agreed on a curtailm ent program .
V alu e o f construction contracts aw arded declined in F ebru ary, a ccord in g
to F. W . D odge C orporation figures, ow in g prin cipally to a fu rth er decrease in
aw ards fo r publicly-financed w ork. C ontracts f o r privately-fin an ced residential
building increased fu rther, w hile aw ards f o r private n onresidential building
rem ained at the low level o f other recen t months.

EMPLOYMENT
F a cto ry em ploym ent and payrolls increased som ew hat less than is usual
betw een the m iddle o f January and the m iddle o f F ebru ary. Changes in n on ­
m a n u factu rin g lines w ere largely o f a seasonal nature.

DISTRIBUTION
D epartm ent store sales w ere in about the same volum e in F ebru ary as in
January, although some increase is usual, and sales at variety stores increased
less than seasonally, w hile mail order sales rose b y slightly m ore than the sea­
sonal am ount. In the early part o f M arch departm ent store sales increased.
Freigh t-car loadings declined som ew hat fr o m January to F ebru ary, r e ­
flecting f o r the m ost part reduced shipm ents o f grains, fo r e s t products, and
m iscellaneous freigh t.

COMMODITY PRICES

Three-month moving averages of F. W . Dodge
Corporation data for value of contracts awarded
in 37 Eastern States, adjusted for seasonal varia­
tion. Latest figures based on data for January
and February and estimate for March.

W holesale com m odity prices w ere generally m aintained w ith little change
during F ebru ary and the first three w eeks o f M arch. A s is usual at this season
prices o f livestock and m eats advanced w hile dairy products declined.
Silk
prices advanced considerably in this period. In the early part o f M arch current
prices o f p ig iron and o f sem ifinished and finished steel w ere reaffirm ed f o r
the second quarter o f this year.

BANK CREDIT
MONEY RATES IN NEW YORK C ITY

Investm ents in U nited States G overnm ent obliga tion s by N ew Y o rk City
banks increased considerably in F ebru ary and the first h alf o f M arch. In this
period m em ber banks reduced their h oldings o f T reasu ry n otes and increased
their bonds, reflectin g in part exchanges o f n otes fo r new bond issues on M arch
15.
E xcess reserves o f m em ber banks continu ed som ewhat below the high
level o f $3,600,000,000 reached at the end o f January, fluctuating la rgely in
accordance w ith changes in T reasu ry balances at the F ederal R eserve banks.

MONEY RATES

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




A v era ge yields on U nited States G overnm ent securities declined to new
record low levels from F ebru ary 27 to M arch 10, follow in g the announcem ent
by the T reasu ry that no cash w ould be raised in the M arch financing. Y ields
rose slightly a fter the m iddle o f M arch a ccom pa n yin g renew ed tension in
E urope. N ew issues o f 91-day T reasu ry bills continued to sell on p ractically
a n o-yield basis during M arch. O ther open-m arket rates continu ed unchanged.

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