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MONTHLY

REVIEW

o f Financial and Business Conditions
< “ BltimeV I
v a o ?
r

F ifth
Federal

; : Richmond 0

' VA;

1
/

^

N.C.

Reserve
D is tr ic t

.^Charlotte

&C

May 31, 1939

Federal Reserve Bank, Richmond, Va.
March 1939
Debits to individual accounts (24 cities)...
Number of business failures, 5th district...
Liabilities in failures, 5th district................
Sales, 30 department stores, 5th district....
Sales, 38 furniture stores, 5th district........
Sales, 216 wholesale firms, 5th district......
Registrations, new passenger autos............
Value of building permits, 31 cities............
Value of contracts awarded, 5th district...
Cotton consumption, 5th district (Bales).
Cotton price, c per lb., end of month..........
Rayon yarn shipments, U. S. (P ou nds)....
Rayon yarn stocks, U. S. (P ou nds)..........
Soft coal mined, U. S. (T o n s ).................

H E strike of bituminous coal miners in the Appa­
lachian region, which began on April 1 and con­
tinued six weeks, threw about 150,000 men out o f work
in the Fifth district, including miners, employees o f rail­
roads engaged in hauling coal, and workers in scattered
industrial plants affected by coal shortage. A local strike
of tobacco factory workers in Richmond and Durham
removed 2,000 men and women from payrolls for one
week in April. There was also a reduction o f about 7
per cent in operating time in the district’s cotton textile
mills last month. On the other hand, construction work
broadened further, and increased activity on farms called
for some additional agricultural workers. H owever, the
new jobs provided did not equal the lay-offs of miners,
railroad employees and industrial wage earners resulting
either directly or indirectly from the coal strike, and there­
fore there was a material decrease in consumer purchasing
power in the Fifth district in April and the first half o f
May. Due to the fact that most o f the miners trade in
smaller towns and cities, from which data are difficult to
obtain, the influence of the coal strike is only partly visible
in the statistical series carried in the Reviezv.
Debits to individual accounts in 24 Fifth district cities
in April 1939 were approximately equal to debits in April
1938, but showed a decrease of 7 per cent from March
1939 debits, a somewhat larger seasonal decline than oc­

T




April 1939

$1 ,233,482,000
59
560,000
$
9,466,426
$
645,446
$
$ 13,298,000
17,800
$ 11,904,407
$ 38,946,000
310,642
8.48
26,500,000
41,300,00
35,290,000

$1,146,848,000
55
525,000
$
8,842,875
$
728,152
$
$ 11,699,000
20,188
8,579,777
$
$ 42,008,000
259,795
8.81
23,100,000
43,800,000
10,747,000

April 1938
$1,146,409,000
42
604,000
$
9,518,841
$
704,102
$
$ 11,754,000
14,092
8,861,313
$
$ 25,114,000
204,154
8.76
16,300,000
65,900,000
21,671,000

Mo.

Year

__ 7
0
— 7 + 31
— 6
13
— 7 — 7
+ 13 + 3
12
0
+ 13 + 43
3
26
+ 8 ~b 67
16 - f 27
1
+ 4 +
13 + 42
34
+ 6
70 — 50

curs in most years. Commercial failures last month were
fewer than in March, but exceeded the number o f failures
in April 1938 by 31 per cent. Liabilities involved in
April 1939 insolvencies, however, were lower than in
either o f the earlier months mentioned. Sales in depart­
ment stores in the district in April were 7 per cent smaller
than in either March this year or April last year, the de­
crease during the year being partly due to an earlier Eas­
ter this year and partly to an additional business day in
April 1938. Retail sales o f furniture, on the other hand,
were 13 per cent better in April this year than in March,
and 3 per cent better than in April last year. Wholesale
trade in 216 firms declined 12 per cent from March to
April, but in the latter month was about equal to the
volume o f business done in April 1938. Automobile sales
in the district increased over March sales, and were 43
per cent ahead o f sales in April last year, although April
1939 sales in W est Virginia were only 22 per cent higher
than sales in April 1938. The value o f building permits
issued in Fifth district cities last month was lower than
the value for either March this year or April last year,
but contracts actually awarded last month totaled more
than in any other month since March 1930. Cotton con­
sumption in Fifth district mills and shipments o f rayon
yarn declined in April, but both continued substantially
above consumption and shipments a year ago.

MONTHLY REVIEW

2

R eserve B a n k O p e r a t io n s :
There were no important
changes in the statement of the Federal Reserve Bank of
Richmond between April 15 and May 15, but between
May 15, 1938, and May 15, 1939, total earning assets
decreased by $6,290,000, while Federal Reserve notes in
actual circulation rose $3,991,000, member bank reserve
deposits rose $31,479,000, and cash reserves o f the bank
rose $36,940,000. The decrease in earning assets was due
chiefly to a reduction in holdings of Government securi­
ties on the 1939 date.
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 ..............................................

000 omitted'
May 15
Apr. 15
May 15
1939
1939
1938
$
277
$
260
$
510
24
24
24
1,172
1,177
1,477
134,227______134,227_____ 139,979
135,700
135,688
141,990
194,239
195,287
190,248
246,064
250,796
214,585
374,682
367,824
337,742
74.27
73.92
71.32

41 R e p o r t i n g M e m b e r B a n k s : Member
banks in 12 leading Fifth district cities increased loans
and discounts by $4,521,000 and investments in securities
by $5,776,000 between April 12 and May 10, both this
year, and time deposits also rose by $2,045,000, but their
reserve balances declined $3,519,000 during the same pe­
riod and there was a small decline in demand deposits.
During the year since M ay 11, 1938, material increases
occurred in investments in securities, reserve balances,
and demand deposits.
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 omitted
May 10
Apr. 12
1939
1939
$241,819
$237,298
434,511
428,735
159,331
162,850
20,065
20,684
476,866
477,751
202,466
200,421
0
0

May 11
1938
$237,586
377,690
137,571
18,605
444,409
198,355
23

lowing figures, compiled for the most part by the Bureau
o f Labor Statistics and covering all types o f work except
construction, show the trends o f employment and payrolls
in the Fifth district from March to A p r il:

Aggregate deposits
in 10 mutual savings banks in Baltimore totaling $220,545,406 reached an all-time high on April 30, 1939, and
compared with $219,931,668 on March 31 this year and
$219,926,013 on April 30, 1938. The March 31, 1939,
total was the previous high point for deposits.
u tu al

S

a v in g s

B

a n k

D

e p o s it s

:

The strike o f bituminous coal miners in
the Appalachian region tied up production in W est V ir­
ginia and in most o f the Virginia mines, and also caused
the lay-off o f some thousands o f railroad employees on
three lines whose chief freight is coal. It is estimated
that around 150,000 men were out o f work and without
pay for approximately 6 weeks. A few industrial work­
ers also suffered from lay-offs or restricted working time
on account o f coal shortage, but the strike was settled
before industries were seriously affected. A strike in
April o f tobacco factory employees involving 2,000 work­
ers was settled after one week. Cotton textile mills re­
duced running time about 7 per cent in April, and pay
rolls naturally declined in proportion. On the other hand,
construction work continued to expand in the Fifth dis­
trict, giving additional employment to both skilled and
unskilled workers in building trades, and miscellaneous
industries continued operations at recent levels. The fol­
E

m p l o y m e n t

:




0.0
+ 3.1
— 4.1
— 39.9
— 2.5
— 2.2

+ 1.0
+ 1.5
— 2.4
— 36.7
+
-2
— .4

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

C o m m e r c ia l F a il u r e s :
Bankruptcy figures for the dis­
trict and the United States were reported by Dun & Bradstreet as fo llo w s :
PERIODS
April 1939 ...................
March 1939 ................. ........
April 1938 ................... ........

Number of failures
District U. S.
1,140
55
1,123
59
1,172
42

4 Months, 1939 ........ ........
4 Months, 1938 ......... ........

247
202

4,489
4,865

Total liabilities
District
U. S.
$ 17,492,000
$ 525,000
17.915.000
560,000
21.147.000
604,000
$2,172,000
3,138,000

$ 67,317,000
103,915,000

e b it s t o
I n d i v i d u a l A c c o u n t s : Total debits to de­
positors’ accounts in 24 Fifth district cities declined sea­
sonally by 7 per cent in April in comparison with the
preceding month o f March, income tax payments in
March normally exceeding quarterly payments debited in
April. I n comparison with April 1938 debits, those for
April 1939 were larger in 17 o f the 24 cities, and the
district total showed a small increase, although April last
year had one more business day than April this year.

D

Apr.
1939

c it ie s

Maryland
Baltimore ...........
Cumberland . . . .
Hagerstown . . . .
Dist. of Col.
Washington

M

Percentage change from
Mar. 1939 to Apr. 1939
In amount
In number
of payroll
on payroll

STATES

. ..

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

000 omitted
Mar.
Apr.
1939
1938

% of Change
Year
Month
—
G
4- 1
+ 1

— 6
+ 9
+ 2

$ 318,990
7,883
8,324

$ 340,906
7,821
8,222

$ 337,582
7,249
8,165

256,489

272,053

253,283

- 6

6,869
12,925
8,411
46,941
4,336
132,807
25,204

7,089
13,439
8,893
50,447
4,260
139,432
30,089

7,000
13,496
7,886
45,774
4,047
133,041
23,297

— 3
— 4
— 5
— 7
+ 2
— 5
— 16

— 4
— 11

- 1
— 2
— 4

4- 7
+

3

4- 7

0

+

8

West Virginia
Charleston .........
Huntington . . . .

41,855
14,888

45,373
16,366

43,607
16,662

— 8
— 9

North Carolina
Asheville ...........
Charlotte ...........
Durham .............
Greensboro . . . .
Raleigh
.............
Wilmington
Winston-Salem .

11,389
55,815
21,834
17,729
37,586
10,172
36,630

12,035
58,816
26,375
20,422
44,645
10,300
41,275

11,236
50,687
23,580
16,819
35,530
9,753
34,851

— 5
— 5
— 17
— 13
— 16
—
1
— 11

+ 1
4-10
— 7
4- 5
+ 6
4- 4
4- 5

South Carolina
Charleston .........
Columbia ...........
Greenville .........
Spartanburg
District Totals .

17,669
25,072
18,218
8,812
$1,146,848

16,938
30,428
18,530
,9,328
$1,233,482

16,181
22,541
16,125
8,017
$1,146,409

+ 4
— 18
— 2
— 6
— 7

+ 9
+ 11
+ 13
+ 10
0

e g is t r a t io n s
of
N e w A u t o m o b il e s :
Sales o f new
passenger automobiles rose further in the Fifth district
in April and totaled 20,188 cars, an increase o f 13 per
cent over 17,800 cars sold in March 1939 and 43 per cent
over 14,092 cars sold in April 1938. The large increases
in sales in the Carolinas over 1938 sales reflect steady em­
ployment in textile industries and payments by the Gov-

R

3

MONTHLY REVIEW
ernment to farmers under various crop control plans. The
following registration figures for new cars were furnished
by R. L . Polk & Co., o f Detroit:
Registration of New Passenger Cars
STATES

Apr.
1939
3,735
2,80*7
4,633
2,074
4,669
2,270

District

..

Apr.
1938
2,686
1,936
3,383
1,698
3,144
1,245

%
Change
+39
+45
+37
+22
+49
+82

20,188

Maryland ...........
Dist. of Col. . . . .
V ir g in ia ...............
West Virginia . .
No. Carolina . . .
So. Carolina . . .

14,092

+43

4 Months 4 Months
1939
1938
8,714
13,164
5.921
8,988
13,278
10,611
6,411
5,196
9,733
14,526
8,287
4,876
64,654

7o

Change
+ 51
+ 52
+ 25
+ 23
+ 49
+ 70

45,051

+ 44

C o n s t r u c t io n :
The aggregate volume of building pro­
vided for in permits issued and contracts awarded in the
Fifth district in April was slightly less than the work
provided for in March, but was materially ahead o f April
1938. Building permits issued in 31 cities in April 1939
totaling $8,579,777 showed declines o f 28 per cent from
$11,904,407 in March 1939 and 3 per cent from $8,861,313 in April 1938. Seventeen of the 31 cities reported
higher figures last month, but two very large declines in
Raleigh, N. C . , and Charleston, S. C., caused the district
decline this year. Washington led with permits totaling
$2,826,710 last month, Baltimore was second with $1,443,162, and Charlotte third with $873,417.

Contracts awarded in the Fifth district in April 1939
totaled $42,008,000, the highest figure for any month
since March 1930, and were 67 per cent above contracts
totaling $25,114,000 awarded in April 1938. During the
first 4 months o f 1939, contract awards totaling $125,620,000 exceeded awards made in the first 4 months o f
1938 by 51 per cent. Figures collected by the F. W .
Dodge Corporation by states for April 1939 and 1938 on
construction contracts awarded are as follow s:
STATES
Maryland ..................................
Dist. of Col...............................
Virginia
..................................
West Virginia .....................
North Carolina .....................
South Carolina ...................
Fifth District

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

April 1939
$ 6,476,000
9,705,000
9,581,000
3,915,000*
7,536,000
5,350,000

April 1938
$ 6,550,000
1,799,000
5,593,000
4,785,000*
4,636,000
2,451,000

$42,563,000*

$25,814,000*

% Change
— 1
+439
+ 71
— 18
4- 63
+118
+

65

* Includes some W . Va, contracts outside Fifth district.

C o a l : Very little coal was mined in the Fifth district in
April, due of course to the strike in the Appalachian re­
gion, but mines in states farther west increased output
and brought to the surface approximately 10,747,000 net
tons, about a third o f probable production had there been
no labor trouble. In March this year, before the strike
began 35,290,000 tons were mined, and in April 1938 pro­
duction totaled 21,671,000 tons. Total output of bitumi­
nous coal this calendar year to May 6 totaled 118,241,000
tons, a higher figure by 6 per cent than! 111,430,000 tons
mined to the same date in 1938.
Shipments o f coal
through Hampton Roads fell to a very low figure in April
this year, but shipments from January 1 through M ay 6
totaling 6,550,376 tons exceed shipments of 6,142,373
tons to M ay 6, 1938. Consumption o f reserve stocks o f
coal during the strike will probably increase the demand
for coal from industries, railroads and wholesale yards
until reserves are rebuilt.




C o tton T e x t il e s :
Cotton textile mills reduced opera­
tions in the Fifth district about 7 per cent during April
below the March level, figured on a daily basis, but ran
at a rate 27 per cent ahead o f the April 1938 rate. Last
month’s reduction in running time and cotton consump­
tion was apparently due in part to accumulating inven­
tories and in part to difficulty in obtaining suitable cotton
for spinning. Mill margins narrowed further as spot
cotton prices rose without corresponding advances in yarn
and gray goods, and trade reports state that most mills
producing standard cloth constructions are operating at a
loss. Style changes recently increased demand from re­
tailers for ginghams and other finished cotton dress fab­
rics, and retail sales o f household goods expanded. Con­
sumption o f cotton by states in the Fifth district in
April 1939, March 1939, and April 1938, in bales, is
shown below :
MONTHS
No. Carolina So. Carolina
April 1939 ..............................
140,596
108,766
March 1939 ............................
169,147
128,110
April 1938 ..............................
109,676
84,296
4 Months, 1939 .....................
4 Months, 1938 .....................

615,376
474,004

466,852
362,252

Virginia
10,433
13,385
10,182

District
259,795
310,642
2,04,154

46,708 1,128,936
44,207
880,463

ayo n :
Deliveries o f rayon filiment yarn to domestic
consumers in April amounted to 23,100,000 pounds as
compared with 26,500,000 pounds in March 1939 and
16.300.000 pounds in April 1938. Production o f yarn
exceeded consumption last month, and stocks held by pro­
ducers rose from 41,300,000 pounds on March 31 to
43.800.000 pounds on April 30. Holdings o f yarn on the
latter date were not out o f balance, however, and com­
pared favorably with an inventory o f 65,900,000 pounds
on A pril 30, 1938. Rayon Organon for M ay states that
reduced consumption in April was due to the depressing
effects o f the unsettled foreign situation and to a normal
between-season decline in fabricators’ operations. The
Organon further says that during the past several months
market demand has been especially active for the fine
denier rayon yarns as a result o f the continuing high price
o f silk, and producers found it necessary to increase pro­
duction and stocks o f fine denier yarns to requirement
levels. The increase in yarn stocks has occurred princi­
pally in those yarns where the supply was insufficient to
meet the demand, and not in those deniers where the sup­
ply was already adequate.

R

C otton :
Activity in the spot cotton market increased
sharply between the middle o f April and the middle o f
May, and prices on Southern markets rose from an averCotton Consumed and On Hand
(Bales)
Apr.
Apr.
1939
1938

Fifth district states:
Cotton consumed ...................
259,795
204,154
Cotton growing states:
Cotton consumed' .....................
463,528
350,697
Cotton on hand April 30 in
Consuming establishments . . 1,087,689 1,416,704
Storage & compresses ........... 12,920,027 10,400,394
United States:
Cotton consumed .....................
546,702
413,169
Cotton on hand April 30 in
Consuming astablishments . . 1,292,349 1,699,827
Storage & compresses ........... 12,968,295 10,487,001
Exports of cotton ....................... .
178,225
377,250
Spindles active, U. S..................... 22,109,394 21,772,680

Aug. 1 to Apr. 30
This Year Last Year
2,477,555

2,175,753

4,361,178

3,766,943

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

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

5,150,040

4,430,333

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

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

2,964,098

5,033,829

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

age o f 8.32 cents per pound, middling basis, on April 14

R e t a il F u r n it u r e S a l e s :

to 9.05 cents on May 12. The futures market continued
dull for the most part, but spots were stimulated by a
growing scarcity of good cotton outside Government loan
stocks, the latter not being available for consumption at
present prices. The accompanying table shows cotton in
storage and compresses totaling 12,968,295 bales on April
30, but approximately 11,360,000 bales of that amount
are impounded.

Change in Sales, April & 4 Months 1939
Compared with Compared' with
April 1938
4 Months 1938
— 2
Maryland, 9 stores ..............................
+ 2
Dist. of Col., 7 stores .......................
— 3
+ 3
Virginia, 10 stores .............................
— 5
+ 3
North Carolina, 4 stores .................
+ 14
+ 7
South Carolina, 7 stores .................
+ 26
+ 10
District 38 stores* ..................... ..
+ 3
+ 4
Individual Cities:
Baltimore, 9 stores ........................
— 2
+ 2
Columbia, 3 stores .........................
+ 11
— 12
Richmond, 5 stores .......................
— 11
— 3
Washington, 7 stores ...................
— 3
+ 3
* Includes 1 store in W . Va.

Cigarette manufacture de­
clined more than seasonally in April and totaled 2 per
cent below the level o f April 1938, chiefly due to a strike
which closed the factories o f one o f the big companies
for a week in April this year. The Bureau o f Internal
Revenue reports tobacco products manufactured in April
1939 and 1938 as follow s:

W h o lesale T rade,

T obacco

M a n u f a c t u r in g :

Apr. 19S9
Smoking & Chewing
Tobacco, Pounds .............
Cigarettes, Number .............=
Cigars, Number .........................
Snuff, Pounds ...........................

R e t a il T rade i n

Apr. 1938

22,618,267
12,269,248,887
403,041,777
3,009,347

24,571,202
12,526,722,723
384,918,261
2,937,411

Change
—8
—2
+5
+2

D epartm ent S tores:

Net Sales
Net Sales
Stocks
April 1939 Jan. 1 to date April 30, 1939
comp, with
comp, with
comp, with
same period Apr. 30
Mar. 31
April
last year
1938
1939
1938
Richmond (3) . . .
Baltimore (8) . . .
Washington (6) .
Other Cities (13)
District (30) .

— 5.8
— 10.8
— 5.6
- .8
- 7.1

Same stores by
States, with 27
stores added:
Virginia (13) .
West Va. ( 1 0 ) . . .
No. Carolina (8)
So. Carolina (12)

— 4.6
— 5.2
+ 4.1
+ 15.7




%

— 1.9
— 2.5
+ 1.1
+ 1.4
— .5

-

1.8

— 3.0
+ 4.2

+10.0

- .5
— 1.9
+ 2.0
+ 5.9
+

.7

—
—
+

.3
.3
.5

+
+

1.1
.2

Ratio April
collections
to accounts
outstanding
April 1
31.1
30.6
27.3
29.2
28.9

%

STATES

Auto Supplies ( 9 ) .........
Shoes (5) .......................
Drugs (12) .....................
Dry Goods (8) ...............
Electrical Goods ( 18) . .
Groceries (72) .............
Hardware (21) .............
Industrial Supplies (11)
Plumbing & Heating (7)
Paper & Products (10)
Tobacco & Products (9)
Miscellaneous (34) ___
Average, 216 Firms.

216

F ir m s :

Net Sales
Stocks
Ratio April
April 1939
April 30, 1939
collections
comp. with
comp. with
to accounts
April
March Apr. 30
Mar. 31 outstanding
1&38
1939
1938
1939
April 1
+ 21
— 2
73
+ 2
+ 2
— 36
— 8
+ 12
— 12
58
— 2
— 1
— 1
100
+ 2
— 19
— 27
— 18
0
40
+ 21
— 11
70
+ 4
+ 11
— 3
— 10
87
+ 7
+ 1
— 7
— 1
45
+ 2
+ 1
— 14
+ 2
67
+ 7
+ 2
— 4
56
+ 5
+ 3
+ 2
„ 4
— 1
— 6
— 14
61
— 5
— 1
— 11
87
+ 4
— 5
— 6
61
+ 5
+ 3
0
— 12
— 1
64
+ 3

A g r i c u l t u r a l N o t e s : It is too early in the season to
judge probable returns from agriculture in 1939, but some
preliminary data on prospects are available. Weather con­
ditions during the spring were spotted, with too much rain
at times and too little at others, and unusually late cool
days and nights. On the whole, winter grains have done
well, but yields will depend upon how heads fill out.
Pastures and hay crops are as good as could be expected,
cool weather having retarded growth. Both corn and
cotton have; been planted in the lower half o f the Fifth
district. Fruit trees escaped winter damage, but frosts
in mid-April cut peach prospects very seriously and many
orchards will pick practically no commercial fruit. Apple
buds appear to have escaped serious injury but little can
be said about final apple yields until late June. Farm
prices for most products declined gradually during the
late winter and spring.

(Compiled May 20, 1939)

MONTHLY REVIEW, May 31, 1939

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

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

Volum e o f industrial production declined sharply in A p ril reflecting chiefly
shutdowns at bituminous coal mines and reduction in activity at textile mills.
Retail purchases by consum ers w ere m aintained.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

PRODUCTION

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

FACTORY EMPLOYMENT AND PAYROLLS

Indexes of number employed and payrolls,
without adjustment for seasonal variations, 19231925 average=10'0. By months, January 1934 to
April 1989. Indexes compiled by U. S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics.

DEPARTMENT STORE SALES AND STOCKS

In A p r il the Board’s seasonally adjusted index o f output at fa ctories and
mines w as at 92 percent o f the 1923-1925 average, com pared w ith 98 in M arch
and 77 a year ago.
In the steel industry production declined in A p r il and the first three weeks
o f M ay but in the fou rth w eek ingot output increased to 48V2 percent o f capacity,
about the rate prevailing a month earlier. A round the middle o f M ay substan­
tial concessions were made in prices o f some types o f steel and it is. reported
that a considerable volum e o f orders fo r steel w as placed during th is period.
A utom obile production in A p ril w as at about the same rate as in M arch,
although usually there is some increase, and in M ay output declined ow ing in
part to the fa c t that stocks o f new cars w ere la rg er than is usual at this time
o f the year. Plate glass production decreased sharply in A p ril follow in g sm aller
declines earlier in the year.
In the lumber industry output increased som ewhat in A pril, w hile cement
production, w hich had risen sharply in F ebru ary and M arch, showed less than
the usual increase.
Textile production declined sharply in A pril, p a rticu larly at w oolen mills,
where output had been at a high level, and in the silk goods industry where
fu rth er curtailm ent reflected in part recent high prices fo r raw silk. Output o f
shoes showed a, decrease from the high level m aintained du ring th e first quarter
o f this year. A t flour mills and sugar refineries activity increased fu rth er, w hile
in m ost other non durable goods lines changes in output w ere la rg ely seasonal*in
character.
Bitum inous coal production w as in small volum e during A p ril and the first
h alf o f M ay as most mines w ere closed pending settlem ent o f con tra ct n egotia­
tions between mine operators and w orkers. A ft e r the middle o f M ay agree­
ments w ere reached at m ost mines and output began to increase rapidly. P r o ­
duction o f anthracite, w hich had been reduced in M arch, increased sharply in
A pril and cru de petroleum production rose fu rther. In the first h a lf o f M ay
anthracite production w as m aintained but petroleum output declined somewhat.
Value o f construction contracts aw arded, according to the F. W . Dodge
Corporation, was larger in A p ril than in M arch, ow in g chiefly to a rise in aw ards
fo r public projects. Contracts fo r private construction showed little change in
the aggregate as private residential contracts declined, con tra ry to seasonal
tendency, while contracts fo r com m ercial, fa ctory , and other private construction
increased. In the; first h a lf o f M ay aw ards f o r private w ork increased som e­
what while the volume o f public contracts declined.

EMPLOYMENT
Em ploym ent in nonagricultural pursuits declined som ewhat fr o m the middle
o f M arch to the middle o f A p ril reflecting a sharp drop at bitum inous coal mines
offset in part by seasonal increases in construction and trade. A t fa ctories the
number employed showed little change while pay rolls declined considerably be­
cause o f few er hours o f w ork.

DISTRIBUTION

Indexes of value of sales and stocks, adjusted
for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average=100.
By months, January 1934 to April 1939.

In A p ril distribution o f com m odities to consum ers showed about
seasonal increase. The B oa rd’s adjusted index o f departm ent store
mained at 88 percent o f the 1923-1925 average, about the level that has
since last autumn.
R ailroad freigh t-car loadings declined sharply ow in g m ainly to a
in shipm ents o f coal. Loadings o f m iscellaneous fre ig h t showed less
usual seasonal rise.

the usual
sales r e ­
prevailed
reduction
than the

COMMODITY PRICES
P rices o f grains and cotton advanced fro m the middle o f A p ril to the third
week o f M ay and there w ere also increases in prices o f silk, hides, and bitum inous
coal. Prices o f copper and steel scrap, on the other hand, w ere reduced and
substantial concessions w ere granted in prices o f several leading steel products.

MONEY RATES IN NEW YORK C ITY

BANK CREDIT
Vv

Total loans and investm ents at reportin g m em ber banks in 101 leading cities,
which had increased in A pril, declined during the first h a lf o f M ay. The decline
w as at New Y ork City banks and reflected a reduction in loans to security
brokers and dealers and redemption o f obligations o f N ew Y ork State and City
governm ents. A fte r increasing substantially in A pril, demand deposits at banks
in leading cities showed little change in the first h a lf o f M ay. Bank reserves
increased fu rth er in M ay to a new high level.

TREASURY BONDS

'

i, i

vl
\

.

RESERVE BANK
DISCOUNT RATE

-------------- 1ntAOUnT WUIW

"V-v"Viti J

vV
V v.

IEASURY BILLS

K

L
1934

19^5

1936

1937

1938

^*
V\
1939

For week ending January 6, 1934, to May 20,
1939.




MONEY RATES
Prices o f United States Government bonds and notes increased sharply du r­
ing the last h a lf o f A p ril and the first three weeks o f M ay to new h igh levels.
The average yield on long-term T reasu ry bonds declined from 2.34 percent on
A p ril 11 to 2.13 percent on M ay 22. Other m oney rates showed little change.

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