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MONTHLY

REVIEW

o f Financial and Business Conditions

F if t h
Federal

Res e r v e
D istrict

Federal Reserve Bank, Richmond, Va.

March 31, 1940

Summary of February Business Conditions
R A D E and industry in the Fifth Federal Reserve dis­
trict were slightly below seasonal levels in February
on the whole, but continued well above the levels o f a
year ago. Debits to individual accounts, reflecting trans­
actions through the banks in 25 cities, declined somewhat
more than usual in February, but were 14 per cent above
February 1939 debits. Labor experienced a moderate de­
crease in employment and payrolls last month, chiefly due
to lessened activity in coal mining and the cotton textile
industry, but employment continued better than a year
ago. Bituminous coal production in the district declined
about 9 per cent from January to February, but in the
later month was 22 per cent above production in February
1939. Textile mills reduced operations about 7 per cent
in February from January in order to bring production o f
textiles more nearly in line with shipments, but activity
during the month was 18 per cent greater than in February
last year. Shipments o f rayon yarn declined a little more
than seasonal average last month, but were 16 per cent
above February 1939 shipments. Production o f rayon

yarn again exceeded shipments, and reserve stocks rose 19
per cent, but are still 79 per cent less than stocks a year
ago.

T

CO N SU M ER B U Y IN G HOLDS UP

Distribution o f goods in February at retail and whole­
sale continued substantially above distribution a year ago.
Retail trade as reflected by department store sales was 11
per cent greater in February this year than in the same
month last year, and retail furniture sales increased 20 per
cent. Sales o f new passenger automobiles last month ex­
ceeded sales in February 1939 by 21 per cent, although
sales were 12 per cent less than those in January. W hole­
sale firms in many lines averaged sale increases o f 3 per
cent in February this year over January sales, and also
sold 14 per cent more than in February 1939. A ll whole­
sale lines fo r which data are available sold more goods in
February 1940 than in February 1939 except dealers in
Paper & Products, which shows a small decrease o f 2 per
cent.

BUSINESS S T A T IS T IC S -F IF T H FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT

February 1940
Debits to individual accounts (25 cities)........................ ............
Sales, 31 department stores, 5th district.......................... ...........
Sales, 39 furniture stores, 5th district............................ ...........
Sales, 211 wholesale firms, 5th district............................
Registrations, new autos, 5th district..............................
Number o f business failures, 5th district........................
Liabilities in failures, 5th district.................................... .........
Value o f building permits, 31 cities................................ ..........
Value of contracts awarded, 5th district........ ................ ..........
Cotton consumption, 5th district (B a les)......................
Cotton price, cents per lb., end o f month........................
Print cloths, 39 in., 80x80, end o f month........................
Rayon shipments, U. S. (P ounds)....................................
Rayon yarn stocks, U. S. (P ou n ds)................................
Bituminous coal mined, U. S. (T o n s )..............................




January 1940

February 1939

% Change
Month
Year

$1,189,136,000
7,334,877
$
1,012,329
$
$ 11,229,000
15,581

$1,381,416,000
7,218,855
$
922,580
$
$ 10,907,000
17,660

$1,042,090,000
6,623,599
$
847,030
$
9,863,000
$
12,895

— 14
+ 2
+ io
+ 3
— 12

65
469,000
7,216,892
19,053,000
270,630

— 21

$
$
$

46
584,000
7,072,557
29,605,000
319,601
10.74
6.63
29,700,000
8,300,000
39,270,000

$
$
$

58
579,000
4,987,380
22,016,000
346,605
10.52
7.00
31,400,000
7,000,000
44,940,000

$
$
$

8.72
25,700,000
39,600,000
34,134,000

+
1
+ 42
+ 34
— 8
+ 2
—■ 5
— 5
+ 19
— 13

+ 14
+ 11
+ 20
+ 14
+ 21
— 29
+ 25
__ 2
+ 55
+ 18
+ 23
+ 16
— 79
+ 15

MONTHLY REVIEW

2
RESERVE BANK C IR C U L A T IO N RISES

M U T U A L SA VIN G S CO N TIN U E A T R E CO RD L E V E L

Changes in the principal items on the statement o f the
Federal Reserve Bank o f Richmond during the past month
were o f little significance, although Federal Reserve notes
in actual circulation showed an unseasonal rise.

Deposits in 10 Baltimore mutual savings banks totaled
$222,888,548 on February 29, 1940, setting a new record
for the third successive month. On January 31, 1940, de­
posits o f $222,744,893 were reported, and on February
28, 1939, deposits totaled $219,404,340.

RESERVE BAN K STATEMENT ITEMS
Fifth District
000 omitted
Mar. 15
Feb. 15
ITEMS
1940
1940
$
113
$
117
Discounts held ........................................
86
216
Foreign loans on gold.........................
Open market paper................................
0
0
909
933
Industrial advances ............................
125,583
125,583
Government securities .......................
Total earning assets.........................
126,849
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes.........
221,028
219,648
Members’ reserve deposits...................
296,184
297,664
Cash reserves .......................................... . ,
443,536
438,385
Reserve ratio .................................................
78,28
77.96

Mar. 15
1939
$
170
0
24
1,204
133,524
134,922
195,961
233,510
351,097
73.06

IN S O L V E N C Y STATISTICS

Bankruptcy statistics for the Fifth district and the
United States, as reported by Dun & Bradstreet, are as
fo llo w s:
Number of Failures
District U. S.

PERIODS
February 1940 .......................
January 1940 .........................
February 1939 .......................
2 Months, 1940 .....................
2 Months, 1939 .....................

46
58
65
104
133

1,042
1,237
1,202
2,279
2,769

Total Liabilities
District
U. S.
$ 584,000
579,000
469,000
1,163,000
1,087,000

$13,472,000
15,279,000
13,582,000
28,751,000
34,372,000

M EM BER BAN K LO AN S IN C REA SE
E M P L O Y M E N T D ECLIN ES M O D E R A T E L Y

Loans at reporting member banks rose further between
February 14 and March 13, while investments in securities
again declined. Both demand and time deposits increased
during the month, and reserve balances at the Reserve
bank rose. On March 13 this year figures were materially
higher than on March 15, 1939, for loans, reserve bal­
ances, cash in vaults and demand depositsSELECTED ITEMS— 41 REPORTING BANKS
Fifth District
000 omitted
Mar. 13
Feb. 14
ITEMS
1940
1940
$264,196
$262,975
Loans & discounts ................................
446,193
Investments in securities...................
450,49?
195,333
192,962
Reserve bal. with F. R. bank.............
Cash in vaults..........................................
22,483
22,024
538,986
531,919
Demand deposits ....................................
Time deposits ...........................................
200,084
Money borrowed ..........................................
0
0

Mar. 15
1939
$232,202
446,821
145,974
16,889
468,908
198,789
0

DEBITS IN SE ASO N AL D ECLIN E

Debits to individual accounts in February 1940 declined
by 14 per cent from January figures, about an average
seasonal drop, but were 14 per cent above February 1939
debits. Every reporting city in the district showed lower
figures in February than in January, but higher figures
than in February last year. Newport News reported the
smallest decline from January 1940 and the largest increase
over February 1939.

CITIES

DEBITS TO INDIV ID U AL ACCOUNTS
000 omitted
Jan.
Feb.
Feb.
1939
1940
1940

Maryland
Baltimore .............
Cumberland .........
Hagerstown .........
Dist. of Col.
Washington .........
Virginia
D an v ille .................
Lynchburg ...........
Newport News . .
Norfolk .................
Portsm outh...........
Richmond...............
Roanoke ...............
West Virginia
Charleston ...........
Huntington .........
Parkersburg .........
North Carolina
Charlotte .............
Durham .................
Greensboro ...........
Raleigh .................
Wilmington .........
Winston-Salem . .
South Carolina
Charleston ...........
Columbia .............
Greenville .............
Spartanburg ----District Totals , .




$ 343,749
7,454
7,456

$ 401,652
8,041
8,585

$ 294,465
6,751
6,305

239,885

281,077

7,609
13,522
11,067
45,217
3,976
140,191
25,801

% of Change
Year
Month

— 14
— 7
— 13

+ 17
+ 10
+ 18

220,617

-1 5

+

9

10,065
15,861
11,664
51,563
4,534
159,624
27,913

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

— 24
— 15
— 5
— 12
— 12
— 12
— 8

+
+
+
+
+
+
+

15
14
36
10
8
12
13

46,355
15,441
8,290

50,997
17,295
10,298

38,754
13,177
7,320

— 9
— 11
— 19

+ 20
+ 17
+ 13

11,547
61,375
27,885
18,745
34,973
10,316
35,247

13,251
68,517
31,294
20,089
53,245
11,895
39,841

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

— 13
— 10
— 11
— 7
— 34
— 13
— 12

+ 14
+23
+ 25
+ 13
+ 4
+ 18
+ 9

17,695
25,934
19,664
9,742
$1,189,136

19,822
30,456
22,309
11,528
$1,381,416

14,745
22,562
15,851
7,723
$1,042,090

-1 1
— 15
— 12
— 15
— 14

+20
+ 15
+ 24
+ 26
+ 14

The number o f workers gainfully employed in the
Fifth Reserve district declined moderately in February,
chiefly in coal mining and the textile industry. This was
partly offset by some improvement in the weather, which
allowed for an increase in outside construction work, but
on the whole weather continued unusually severe until the
middle o f March. Tobacco markets have closed for the
season, laying off many warehouse employees, but this is
a regular seasonal development. The following figures,
collected for the most part by the Bureau o f Labor, show
the trend o f employment and payrolls in the Fifth district
from January to February:
Percentage change from
Jan. 1940 to Feb. 1940
in number
in amount
on payroll
of payroll

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

— 1.0
+ 0.4
— 0.6
— 1.5
— 0.1
— 0.8

+
—
—
+
+

1.2
0.2
0.5
0.5
1.3
0.2

A U T O SALES A P P R O A C H F E B R U A R Y RECO RD

New passenger automobiles registered in the Fifth dis­
trict in February totaled 15,581, a seasonal decline from
17,660 cars registered in January but 21 per cent above
February 1939 registrations. The number o f new cars
sold in the district last month exceeded sales in any other
February since 1929. Retail sales, however, did not equal
shipments from factory to dealers, and dealers’ stocks in­
creased substantially. Used car stocks also increased dur­
ing February. H owever, spring and early summer sales
are expected to reduce both new and used stocks, neither
o f which are unusually large fo r this time o f year. Regis­
tration figures by states, collected by R . L. Polk & Co.,
are as fo llo w s:
REGISTRATIONS OF N E W PASSENGER CARS— NUMBER
STATES
Maryland ...........
Dist. of Col. . . .
West Virginia . .
No. Carolina . . .
So. Carolina . . .
District ...........

Feb.
1940
2,986
1,617
3,079
1,824
3,644
2,431
15,581

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

%
Change
+ 30
— 24
+ 18
+ 37
+ 30
+ 41
+ 21

2 Months 2 Months
1940
1939
6,332
4,783
3,347
3,420
6,976
5,649
2,753
3,869
7,940
6,412
4,777
3,649
33,241
26,666

%
Change
+ 32
— 2
+ 23
+ 41
+ 24
+ 31
+ 25

C O N STR U C TIO N C O N T R A C T S INC REA SE

Building permits issued in 31 Fifth district cities totaled
$7,072,557 in February, compared with $4,987,380 in
January 1940 and $7,216,892 in February 1939. W ash­
ington led last month with permits totaling $2,531,565,
Baltimore was second with $1,285,494, Richmond third

3

MONTHLY REVIEW
with $473,697, and Charleston, W . Va-, fourth with $457,778. Eighteen o f the 31 reporting cities issued permits
last month in excess o f February 1939 valuation, but sub­
stantial decreases from 1939 figures in Durham, Charles­
ton, S. C., Spartanburg and Washington pulled this year’s
district total below the aggregate for February last year.
Contracts actually awarded in the Fifth district last
month, valued at $29,605,000, exceeded awards in any
other February since 1929, and were also larger than
awards totaling $22,016,000 in January this year. T w o
publicly financed contracts awarded last month totaled
more than $9,000,000, one a naval medical center near
Bethesda, Md., for $4,850,000, and the other a W ar D e­
partment office building in Washington for $4,329,000.
Contract award figures collected by the F. W . Dodge Cor­
poration by states for February 1940 and 1939 are as fol­
lows :
CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS AW AR D ED
STATES
Maryland ..........................................
Dist. of Col........................................
Virginia ............................................
West Virginia ................................
North Carolina ..............................
South Carolina ..............................
District ..........................................

Feb. 1940
$10,234,000
6,839,000
4,728,000
2,149,000
3,987,000
1,668,000
$29,605,000

Feb. 1939
$ 4,697,000
3,307,000
4,413,000
2,455,000
2,771,000
1,410,000
$19,053,000

% Change
+118
+107
+
7
— 12
+ 44
+ 18
+ 55

Bituminous coal production in the United States totaled
39.270.000 net tons in February 1940, compared with 44,940.000 tons dug in January and 34,134,000 tons in Febru­
ary 1939. O n a work-day basis, production o f 1,577,000
tons last month was 8.4 per cent below 1,722,000 tons
per day in January but 10.4 per cent above daily output
o f 1,428,000 tons in February 1939. Shipments through
Hampton Roads this calendar year to March 9 o f 4,902,966 tons exceeded shipments to the same date in 1939 o f
4,427,294 tons by 10.7 per cent. In the Fifth district,
coal mined in February 1940, January 1940 and February
1939, was as follow s:
SOFT COAL PRODUCTION IN TONS
REGION

Feb. 1940

Jan. 1940

Feb. 1939

11,155,000
1,441,000
164,000
12,760,000
44,940,000
28.4

8,285,000
1,084,000
125,000
9,494,000
34,134,000
27.8

TE X T IL E M ILLS AD JU ST PRO D U CTIO N

Cotton textile mills restricted operations moderately in
February, bringing production more nearly in balance with
shipments. The back-log o f orders built up last fall hav­
ing been substantially reduced, some accumulation o f in­
ventories began to develop after the first o f the year.
Prices o f unfinished cotton cloth declined in February,
and the average mill margin in the first week in March
at 11.83 cents compared with an average o f 12-25 cents in
February. Consumption o f cotton by states in the Fifth
district in February 1940, January 1940 and February
1939, in bales, is shown in the accompanying table:
COTTON CONSUMPTION— FIFTH DISTRICT
In Bales
MONTHS
No. Carolina So. Carolina Virginia
February 1940 ...................
174,359
131,419
13,823
January 1940 .....................
190,299
142,554
13,752
February 1939 ...................
148,164
111,097
11,369
2 months, 1940 .................
364,658
273,973
27,575
2 months, 1939 .................
305,633
229,976
22,890

District
319,601
346,605
270,630
666,206
558,499

R A Y O N M ARK ET CONTIN UES A C T IV E

Shipments o f rayon filament yarn, as tabulated in Rayon
Organon for the United States, amounted to 29,700,000
pounds during February, a decline from 31,400,000 pounds



C O TTO N CO N SU M PTIO N RECEDES

Spot cotton prices on Southern markets declined slightly
between the middle o f February and the middle o f March,
but mills were not active purchasers and quotations were
more or less nominal. The average price for middling
grade 15/16 inch staple was 10.86 cents per pound on
February 16, but after rising to 10.92 cents on February
23, the price dropped to 10.61 cents on March 15.
COTTON CONSUMPTION AND ON HAND— BALES
Feb.
1940

C O A L M IN IN G SLOWS D O W N

West Virginia ....................... ............10,163,000
Virginia
..................................
1,269,000
Maryland ..................................
153,000
5th District ................................... 11,585,000
United States ................... ............ 39,270,000
% in District .....................
29.5

shipped in January but a substantial increase over ship­
ments o f 25,700,000 pounds in February 1939. For the
second month in succession production exceeded ship­
ments, and reserve stocks rose from, 7,000,000 pounds on
January 31 to 8,300,000 pounds on February 29. H ow ­
ever, reserves o f yarn are still very low, and are only a
fraction o f stocks on hand totaling 39,600,000 pounds at
the end o f February 1939. N o changes o f importance
have occurred in rayon yarn prices since last fall, but in
late February the largest American producer o f rayon
wood pulp announced advances o f $5 per ton for several
grades o f bleached sulphite pulp.

Fifth district states:
Cotton consumed .......................
Cotton growing states:
Cotton consumed .......................
Cotton on hand Feb. 29 in
Consuming establishments . .
Storage & compresses ...........
United States:
Cotton consumed .......................
Cotton on hand Feb. 29 in
Consuming establishments . .
Storage & compresses ...........
Exports of cotton ..........................
Spindles active, U. S....................

Feb.
1939

Aug. 1 to Feb. 29
This Year Last Year

319,601

270,630

2,232,681

1,907,118

565,566

475,360

3,996,472

3,354,823

1,434,2831,342,825
12,093,29814,075,654
662,659

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

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

562,580 4,704,504

1,701,5101,559,417
12,157,07414,134,827
746,680
263,922
22,803,79622,532,814

3,959,420

...............
.............
4,916,511
.............

...........
...........
2,455,803
...........

A U C T IO N T O B A C C O M ARKETS CLOSE

All tobacco markets have closed for the season, but com ­
plete figures on sales are not yet available. Season figures
will be published next month.
TO B A C C O M A N U F A C T U R IN G DECREASES

The manufacture o f tobacco products declined season­
ally in February from January levels, but was in larger
volume than in February 1939. Production figures for
February 1940 and 1939 were given by the Bureau o f In­
ternal Revenue as follow s:
TOBACCO PRODUCTS MANUFACTURED
Feb. 1940
Smoking & chewing
tobacco, pounds ...............
Cigarettes, number .................
Cigars, number .......................
Snuff, pounds ......................... ..

Feb. 1939

% Change

23,712,060
13,162,661,213
375,824,394
3,144,556

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

+ 6
+12
4" *
+ 6

R E T A IL A N D W H O LE SA LE T R A D E
DEPARTMENT STORE TRADE
Net Sales
Feb. 1940
comp, with
February
1939

Net Sales
Stocks
Jan. 1 to date Feb. 29, 1940
comp, with
comp, with
same period
Feb.
Jan.
last year
1939
1940

Richmond (3) . . .
Baltimore (8) . . .
Washington (6) .
Other Cities (14 ).
District (31)

+
+
+
+
+

12.7
10.3
11.1
8.2
10.7

+ 6.2
+ 13.3
+ 9.2
+ 7.2
+ 10.0

Same stores by states,
with 24 stores added:
Virginia (13) . . .
West Va. (9) . . .
No. Carolina (8) .
So. Carolina (11)

+ 1 0 .6
+ 1 3 .8
+ 1 2 .5
+ 1 4*6

+ 5.9
+ 16.8
+ 6.7
+ 15.0

+ 8.1
+ 7.3
+ 8.9
+ 7.5
+ 8.1

+
+
+
+
+

9.8
17.5
12.9
13.2
14.1

Ratio Feb.
collections
to accounts
outstanding
Feb. 1
31.3
30.6
28.1
29.1
29.4

4

MONTHLY REVIEW
RETAIL FURNITURE SALES

W H O LESALE TRADE, 211 FIRMS

% Change in Sales, February and 2 Months 1940

Compared with
Feb. 1939

STATES

+24
+ 18

Maryland, 10 stores . . . .
Dist. of Col., 7 stores . .
Virginia, 10 stores .........
North Carolina, 4 stores
South Carolina, 7 stores
District, 39 stores* . . .

+ 8
+ 6

+ 46

+20

Individual Cities:
Baltimore, 10 stores .....................
Richmond, 5 stores .......................
Washington, 7 s to r e s ...................

+ 24

+21

+ 18

Compared with
2 Months 1939

LINES

+ 23

Auto supplies (8)

+ 8
+ 1
+ 8

.........

Drugs (11) .......................
Dry Goods (8) .................
Electrical goods (15) . . .
Groceries (62) .................
Hardware (19) ...............
Indus, supplies (12) . . .
Plumbing & heating (7)
Paper & products (9) . . .
Tobacco & products (7 ).
Miscellaneous (49) .........
District Totals (211) .

+ 29
+ 14

+ 23
— 7

+ 8

* Includes 1 store in W . Va.

Net Sales
February 1940
compared with
Feb.
Jan.
1939
1940
— 6
+ 18
+ 20
+ 46
+ 19
— 6
+ 4
+ 9
+ 16
+ 10
+ 14
— 2
— 14
+ 13
+21
+ 2
— 1
+ »
— 14
— 2
+ 13
+ 3
+ 12
+ 2
+ 14
+ 3

Stocks
Ratio Feb.
Feb. 29, 1940
collections
compared with
to accounts
Feb. 28
Jan. 31 outstanding
1939
1940
Feb. 1
0
58
+ 5
42
+ 14
+ 3
+ 4
88
+ 3
39
+21
+ 1
68
+ 4
+ 9
87
+ 7
+ 1
+ 1
37
+ 9
+ 15
0
59
+ 12
— 1
48
— 3
61
+ 3
+ 5
75
+ 2
_ 4
71
+ 10
+ 10
61
+ 1

LIVE STOCK ON FARMS ON JANUARY 1, FOR THE PAST TEN YEARS, WITH TOTAL VALUATION FIGURES
(All figures in thousands: i. e., 000 omitted)

Horses & colts.... 1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
Mules & colts.... 1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
Cattle & calves.... 1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
Hogs & pigs....... 1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
Sheep & lambs.... 1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940

Maryland
No.
Value
89
$ 7,387
5,916
87
85
5,780
6,806
82
8,115
80
9.695
81
10,062
81
82
9,950
82
9.200
82
8,481
29
3,045
2,755
29
2,581
29
2,987
29
3,491
29
4,013
29
4,004
28
28
4,060
28
3.696
3,668
28
292
17,841
12,154
295
8,700
300
304
8.725
9,687
307
13,913
307
307
14,735
313
16,397
322
16,324
16,593
338
168
1,596
160
1.200
882
180
186
874
159
1,036
1,676
167
184
1,839
1.725
191
210
1,845
231
1,566
738
107
104
530
376
99
432
95
94
435
86
534
84
552
81
585
534
77
77
545

Virginia
No.
Value
195
$13,290
12,373
187
178
11,768
170
13.770
163
16,049
165
19,575
167
21,307
20.771
167
19.727
169
169
17.728
8,014
94
7,834
93
7,442
90
92
9,108
93
11,028
93
13,076
96
14,546
94
14,274
95
14,063
96
13,830
754
25,536
782
21,706
800
16,955
17,291
856
870
19,740
861
28,443
852
28,906
869
32,250
886
34,161
913
35,402
4,069
508
3,343
551
2,577
579
585
2,545
3,314
543
597
5,691
663
6,114
663
5,904
683
5,722
717
4,543
495
3,306
485
2,212
480
1,671
2,021
470
438
1,947
416
2,569
2,596
395
399
2,823
2,602
387
379
2,610

West Virginia
Value
No.
$ 8,690
110
106
7,420
7,622
103
8,686
101
99
10,078
11,438
98
11,604
96
11,497
96
11,079
96
10,119
95
1,079
13
888
12
876
12
972
12
1,116
12
1,380
12
1,428
12
1,428
12
1,392
12
1,272
12
18,000
500
15,561
546
13,350
596
12,540
627
12,856
612
19,530
618
17,491
576
20,447
588
21,415
600
22,116
600
1,428
168
1,320
176
1,019
196
884
188
1,106
188
1,807
197
1,859
213
1,823
209
1,834
217
1,539
230
3,687
625
2,776
631
2,082
631
2,257
610
606
2,401
3,019
588
2,931
547
3,062
547
536
2,911
531
2,898

The number o f cattle and hogs on Fifth district farms
increased during 1939, but mules and sheep declined, while
horses remained unchanged. Average value per head rose
for cattle and sheep, but horses and mules declined slightly
in value and hogs dropped by nearly 23% per head. Dur­
ing the past 10 years, horses on farms decreased 13%
in number but rose 2 3% in aggregate value; mules rose
4 % in number and 67% in value; cattle rose 20% in
number and 16% in value; hogs rose 35% in number but




North Carolina
No.
Value
83
$ 6,308
77
5,005
72
4,824
5,862
69
67
6,884
68
7,960
69
8,675
69
8,603
8,112
70
7,892
71
32,148
282
279
24,831
285
25,365
290
33,596
41,242
295
298
51,150
301
54,110
305
55,136
53,198
305
52,287
305
20,032
558
594
16,157
659
13,575
679
13,399
685
14,624
671
18,225
651
18,813
638
18,896
664
20,716
684
22,010
913
9,313
954
7,346
1,096
5,590
5,822
1,005
9'47
7,241
966
10,255
1,111
11,523
1,111
10,994
1,155
10,833
1,167
8,358
522
90
86
335
85
264
81
278
77
287
73
351
62
321
62
362
353
60
318
54

South Carolina
Value
No.
28
$ 1,932
25
1,350
23
1,449
22
1,760
21
2,050
20
2,250
2,465
20
2,265
20
2,189
20
2,092
20
183
16,836
181
13,394
179
13,783
179
20,943
183
25,071
185
30,525
189
34,398
187
31,790
185
30,525
183
31,010
310
10,261
324
7,679
351
6,844
372
7,031
386
7,327
374
8,131
374
8,834
9,322
352
359
9,731
359
10,270
494
4,347
576
3,283
600
2,820
552
2,705
509
2,917
519
4,425
4,828
550
4,635
540
583
4,633
688
4,512
14
64
14
50
14
43
13
40
13
40
12
45
11
36
11
37
10
32
10
37

Fifth
No.
505
482
461
444
430
432
433
434
437
437
601
594
595
602
612
617
626
626
625
624
2,414
2,541
2,706
2,838
2,860
2.831
2.760
2.760
2.831
2,894
2,251
2,417
2,651
2,516
2,346
2,446
2,721
2,714
2,848
3,033
1,331
1,320
1,309
1,269
1,228
1,175
1.099
1.100
1,070
1,051

District
Value
$ 37,607
32,064
31,443
36,884
43,176
50,918
54,113
53,086
50,307
46.312
61,122
49,702
50,047
67,606
81,948
100,144
108,486
106,688
102,874
102,067
91,670
73,257
59,424
58,986
64,234
88,242
88,779
97.312
102,347
106,391
20,753
16,492
12,888
12,830
15,614
23,854
26,163
25,081
24,867
20,518
8,317
5,903
4.436
5,028
5,110
6,518
6.436
6,869
6,432
6,408

declined 1 % in value; and sheep declined 21% in number
and 23% in value. Between 1931 and 1940, inclusive,
horses varied in average value per head from $67 in 1932
to $125 in 1937; mules ranged from $84 in 1932 and 1933
to $173 in 1937; cattle ranged from $20.78 in 1934 to
$37.97 in 1931; hogs ranged from $4*86 in 1933 to $9.75
in 1936; and sheep ranged from $3.39 in 1933 to $6.25
in 1931.

(Compiled March 21, 1940)

MONTHLY REVIEW, March 31, 1940

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

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

Industrial activity showed a fu rth er sharp decline in F ebru ary and a less
m arked reduction in the first h a lf o f M arch.
W holesale com m odity prices
generally w ere steady, follow in g som e decline in Janu ary and early F ebru ary.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

PRODUCTION

Index of physical volume of production, ad­
justed for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 averages
100. Durable manufactures, nondurable manufac­
tures, and minerals expressed in terms of points in
the total index.
By months, January 1934 to
February 1940.

FREIGHT CAR LOADINGS

Index of total loadings of revenue freight, ad­
justed for seasonal variation, 19*23-1925 averages
100. Miscellaneous, coal and all other expressed
in terms of points in the1total index. By months,
January 1934 to February 1940.

WHOLESALE

In F ebru ary the B oard’s seasonally adjusted index o f industrial production
w as 109 per cent o f the 1923-1925 average as com pared w ith 119 in January
and 128 in December. A fu rth er decline at a slow er rate is indicated fo r
M arch on the basis o f data now available. In A u gu st 1939, the m onth prior
to the outbreak o f w ar, the index w as 103.
Steel production, w hich had risen sharply in the latter p a rt o f 1939 and
then decreased considerably in January, showed a fu rth er m arked reduction
in F ebru ary to 69 per cent o f capacity. In the first h a lf o f M arch output
w as steady at a rate o f about 65 per cent. P late glass production declined
fu rth er in F ebru ary and output o f lum ber, w hich had dropped sharply in
January, showed less than the usual seasonal rise. Autom obile production in
F ebru ary w as maintained at the high level prevailin g in January. D ealers’
stocks o f new cars rose to high levels in this period, notw ithstanding the fa c t
that retail sales o f cars w ere in large volum e fo r this tim e o f the year. In
the first h a lf o f M arch output o f autom obiles showed less than the custom ary
sharp increase.
In some industries not included directly in /the B oa rd’s
production index, particu larly the m achinery, a ircra ft, and rayon industries,
activity continued at high levels.
Changes in output o f nondurable goods w ere la rg ely seasonal in F ebru ary
except at textile m ills and sugar refineries. A t cotton textile m ills activity
declined som ewhat from the high levels prevailin g since early last autumn.
A ctiv ity at woolen mills, w hich had decreased considerably in Decem ber and
January, declined fu rth er in F ebru ary and output o f silk products w as re­
duced to an exceptionally low level. Sugar refining showed less than the sharp
rise usual at this season.
M ineral production declined in F ebru ary, ow in g c h ie fly to a considerable
reduction in output o f anthracite. Bitum inous coal production declined some­
w hat, follow in g a rise in January, while ou tpu t o f crude petroleum increased
to new high levels.
Value o f construction contract aw ards in F ebru ary showed little change
from the Janu ary total, reflecting a fu rth er decrease in contracts fo r public
construction and a contraseasonal increase in private contracts, according to
figures o f the F. W . D odge C orporation. The increase in private residential
awards n early equalled the decline that occurred in the previous m onth when
severe storm s curtailed building operations in m any areas.

DISTRIBUTION
R etail distribution o f general m erchandise showed little ch an ge fr o m
Janu ary to Febru ary and rem ained som ewhat below the high level o f the
latter pa rt o f last year, w ith due allow ance fo r seasonal changes.
Sales at
variety stores and m ail-order houses showed about the usual seasonal rise in
February, w hile at departm ent stores, w here some increase is also usual at
this tim e o f year, sales remained at about the Jan u ary level.
F reigh t-car loadings declined considerably from Janu ary to Febru ary, re­
flecting f o r the m ost part a sharp reduction in coal shipm ents and some fu rth er
decrease in loadings o f m iscellaneous freigh t.

PRICES

10
1
100

FOREIGN TRADE

1934

1937

1935

1933

1939

1940

Index compiled by the U. S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics, 1926=100. By weeks, 1934 to March 9,
1940.

E xp orts o f United States m erchandise in F ebru ary declined less than
seasonally from the high levels reached in D ecem ber and January.
The
principal decreases w ere in shipments o f cotton, copper, and a ircra ft, w hich
had been exceptionally large in previous months.
E xports to Japan fe ll
sharply and there w ere declines also in shipments to the U nited K ingdom , the
N etherlands, and Russia, w hile exports to Belgium and the Scandinavian
countries increased.
T here has been little change in the rate o f gold inflow, The m on etary
gold stock increased by $246,000,000 in F ebru ary and b y $109,000,000 in the
first tw o weeks o f March.

COMMODITY PRICES
P rices o f nonferrous metals advanced from the middle o f F ebru ary to
the middle o f M arch, w hile steel scrap and textile m aterials declined somewhat
fu rther. M ost other commodities showed little change and in the week ending
M arch 9 the general index o f the Bureau o f L abor Statistics w as at 78.3
per cent o f the 1926 average as com pared w ith 78.5 a month earlier.

GOVERNMENT SECURITY MARKET
F ollow in g a relatively steady m arket du ring F ebruary, prices o f long-term
T reasu ry bonds increased sharply a fter the announcement b y the T reasu ry
early in M arch that its operations du ring th at month would be lim ited to the
issuance o f a five-year note to refun d a note m atu ring next June.

BANK CREDIT
1934

1935

1936

1937

1933

1939

1940

For weeks ending January 6, 1934, to March
16, 1940.




T otal loans and investm ents at reportin g mem ber banks in 101 leading
cities rose during the six weeks ending M arch 13, la rgely as a result o f in ­
creases in investments at N ew Y ork City banks. F ollow in g a reduction during
January, com m ercial loans increased, m ostly at banks in cities outside N ew
Y ork . Bank reserves and deposits continued to increase during the period.

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