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F E D E R A L R E S E R V E B A N K O F R IC H M O N D
General Business and Agricultural Conditions in the
Fifth Federal Reserve District
By C A L D W E L L H A R D Y , Chairman and Federal R eserve A gen t

RICHMOND, VIRG IN IA, OCTOBER 31, 1921
Signs that seem to point
Textile manufacturers con­
to a healthy business revival
tinue to receive increasing
C O N TE N TS
are slowly but steadily be­
orders, and are making some
com ing more apparent in the
profits out o f the new busi­
Fifth Reserve District, a de­
ness. Prospects in the cloth­
Introduction
velopment that has its origin
ing trade are fair, and the
Condition o f M em ber Banks
with the improved demand
shoe business is good. H os­
Debits to Individual Account
for cotton, cotton goods, and
iery and knit goods manu­
M onthly Clearings
facturers are operating their
profitable prices for tobacco.
Business Failures
The cotton crop report, is­
mills full time, with suffi­
Textiles
sued by the Department o f
cient orders ahead to take
Clothing
Agriculture, as of Septem­
their output for several
Foods
ber 25, was more optimistic
months.
Food dealers re­
Coal
than had been expected, but
port good business in all
Tobacco
the prices have not declined
lines during September, with
Cotton
seriously, and are hovering
an increasing tendency for
Building Construction
persistently near the twenty
jobbers to buy for future
Retail Trade
cent mark. The effects o f
requirements. The coal out­
W holesale Trade
the present prices for cot­
put is increasing steadily,
ton and tobacco have been
probably sufficiently to take
felt in every line o f business
care o f increased orders as
in the District, and the reports received from lead­
industry gets back into operation. Tobacco and
ing firms in numerous lines are full o f optimistic
cotton are bringing the producer prices that ap­
predictions for the future o f business.
pear to be sufficient to cover production costs,
Condition reports received weekly from eighty
and some liquidation is noted o f last year's obli­
three member banks in leading cities show in­
gations. Building construction in September was
creased reserves and lowered borrowings from the
particularly good, more permits having been is­
Reserve Bank. Other reports indicate that the
sued than in the corresponding month in either
selling o f cotton and tobacco has enabled many
1919 or 1920, and more permits than were issued
banks to strengthen their position by reducing
during any month in 1920. W holesale trade in
loans due to other than Federal Reserve Banks.
dry goods, shoes and furniture is considerably
Debits to Individual Account at clearing house
ahead in the volume o f sales for September, 1921,
centers show business in the Fifth District rela­
in comparison with September, 1920. Sales re­
tively more active than the average for the United
ported for September by sixty-six firms handling
States, as shown by the Federal Reserve Board’s groceries, dry goods, boots and shoes, hardware
weekly statement. Business failures in the Fifth
and furniture show an increase o f 6% over August,
District in September were 57.4% more numerous
1921 sales, and a decrease o f only 13.3% under
than in September, 1920, but the average increase
sales in September, 1920. Retail trade is tak­
for the twelve Federal Reserve Districts was
ing on the usual seasonal briskness, though the
116.5%. The labor situation has not changed ma­
warm weather somewhat slowed down this de­
terially as compared with former months this year.
velopment during September.
CONDITION OF SEVENTY-EIGHT REPORTING MEMBER BANKS IN SELECTED CITIES.
ITEMS
1. Total Loans and Discounts (exclusive
of rediscounts) -------------------------- $
2. Total Investments in Bonds and Se­
curities -------------------------------------3. Total Loans and Investments----------4. Reserve Balance with Federal Reserve
Bank ___________________________
5. Cash in Vaults--------------------------------6. Demand Deposits___________________
7. Time Deposits -------------------------------8. Discounted with Federal R e s e r v e
Bank ___________________________
* Includes some miscellaneous investments.




October 5, 1921

September 7, 1921

October 8, 1920

I
405,391,000

:$

403,523,000

$

49$,064,000*

124.899.000
530.290.000

119,291,000
522,814,000

76,983,000**
573.047.000

30.732.000
14.089.000
287.413.000
117.646.000

28,723,000
14,200,000
291,629,000
117,776,000

35.947.000
18.389.000
341.126.000
105.791.000

68,168,000

81.925.000

66.983.000

i

** Government Securities only.

In the table given above, the principal items of condition are shown for seventy-eight identical
banks, located in thirteen cities o f the Fifth Reserve District, as of the close of business October 5, 1921,
September 7, 1921, and October 8, 1920, thus giving comparisons for the current month with the pre­
ceding month o f this year and with the corresponding date last year. In the table, all items are com ­
parable except items 1 and 2, these having been calculated differently in 1921 and 1920.
Comparing the figures as o f October 5, 1921, with those as of October 8, 1920, all items show de­
creases between the tw o dates except item 7, Time Deposits, which continues to hold up remarkably
well, having increased from $105,791,000 on October 8, 1920, to $117,646,000 on October 5, 1921, a gain
of $11,855,000, or 11.2%. Every month this year has shown higher Time Deposits than the cor­
responding month o f 1920. The decrease shown in all items except number seven are as follows : Total
Loans and Investments decreased from $573,047,000 as of October 8, 1920, to $530,290,000 as of October
5, 1921, a decline o f 7.5% ; Reserve Balance with the Federal Reserve Bank decreased from $35,947,000, to $30,732,000, a decline of 14.5%; Cash in Vaults decreased from $18,389,000 to $14,089,000, a de­
cline o f 23.4% ; Demand Deposits decreased from $341,126,000 to $287,413,000, a decline of 15.7%; and
Discounts with the Federal Reserve Bank decreased from $81,925,000, to $66,983,000, a decline o f 18.2%.
Comparing the figures as o f October 5, 1921, with those as of September 7, 1921, some interest­
ing facts are seen. Total Loans and Discounts increased within the month five-tenths o f one per
cent., and Total Investments increased 4.7%. Reserve Balance with the Federal Reserve Bank also
shows an increase, amounting to 7% , but Demand Deposits, Time Deposits, and Discounts with the
Federal Reserve Bank all register declines for the month. The figures alone, however, do not indicate
the full amount o f liquidation that has taken place, for at this time of the year there is a seasonal liqui­
dation in county banks, as crops are marketed, but there is also a seasonal increase in loans in the
city banks to finance the merchants, wholesalers and buyers of agricultural products, the liquidation
of which loans normally occurs later in the season. In view of this counter demand for loans, the
small increase for this period in immaterial. The decrease in bills discounted with, and the increase
in reserves with the Federal Reserve Bank show that the reporting banks occupy a stronger position
than previously this year.

DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNT IN CLEARING HOUSE CITIES.
For the Weeks Ending

CITIES
October 5, 1921
Baltimore, Md. ----------------------------------- $
Charleston, S. C---------------------------------Charlotte, N. C-----------------------------------Columbia, S. C. --------------------------------Greenville, S. C---------------------------- *
------Huntington, W . Va-----------------------------Norfolk, V a . __________________________
Raleigh, N. C_______________________—
Richmond, Va. ----------------------------------Washington, D. C--------------------------- ----Wilmington, N. C_____________________
Totals for 9 cities------------------------- $
Totals for 11 cities-----------------------

October 6, 1920

September 7, 1921

112,468,000
6,186,000
6.554.000
6.591.000
4,582,000*
4.393.000
15.044.000
4,000,000
28.974.000
39.948.000
5,837,000*

$

224,158,000
234,577,000

$

94,105,000
6.090.000
4.941.000
3.614.000
2,695,000*
3.566.000
10.723.000
3.700.000
22.759.000
29.998.000
4,016,000*
179,496,000
186,207,000

$

124,101,000
7.461.000
7.360.000
6.928.000
6.196.000
19.359.000
4.280.000
27.589.000
38.992.000

$

242,266,000

* Not included in Totals for 9 cities.

Debits to Individual Account in nine clearing house centers for the week ending October 5, 1921,
totaled $224,158,000, compared with a total of $242,266,000 reported from the same cities for the week
ending October 6, 1920, a decline in debits for the 1921 week of 7.5%. The average decline between
the tw o dates reported by 151 leading centers for the entire United States was 16.3%.
As compared with the week ending September 7, 1921, the week ending October 5, 1921, shows an
increase of 24.9%, “ which may,” says the Federal Reserve Board, “ be ascribed chiefly to large volume
of end-of-m onth and end-of-quarter settlements effected during the week.” The national increase be­
tween the tw o dates mentioned was 15.2%. It will be noted that the percentage changes in both com ­
parisons made herein show that the volume of business transactions in the Fifth District is above the
national average.




MONTHLY CLEARINGS.
For Month of September

CITIES

No.

1920

1921
1
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.

Baltimore, Md. _______________ $
Charleston, S. C. ______ ______
Charleston, W . V a .____________
Charlotte, N. C. ______________
Columbia, S. C . _______________
Frederick, Md. _______________
Greensboro, N. C . _____________
Greenville, S. C . ______________
Hagerstown, M d .______________
Huntington, W . Va. --------------Newport News, V a . ___________
Norfolk, Va. __________________
Raleigh, N. C. ________________
Richmond, Va. ________________
Spartanburg, S. C. ___________
Washington, D. C. ___________
Totals____________________ $

274,010,837
8,754,640
12,905,950*
10,277,091
8,061,354
1,732,487
4,758,954
6,993,800
2,525,739
6,432,671
1,515,049
25,845,458
5,832,358
158,136,667
2,997,252
66,754,029
584,628,386

j$

419,609,008
14,216,834

831,255,092

♦ Not Included in Totals

$

145,598,171—
5,462,194—

lT2—
29.8—
39.6—
21.1—
4.4—
24.0—
19.4—
56.2—
33.7—
6.3
31.1—
18.6—
1.7

246,626,706—

29.7—

No.

34.7—
38.4—

””1,298,866—
3,424,989—
1,135,354—
1,269,194—
323,576—
796,588—
1,547,899—
1,947,806—
13,131,806—
344,453
71,440,191—
685,268—
1,090,743

$

11,575,957
11,486,343
2,867,841
6,028,148
7,317,376
3,322,327
7,980,570
3,462,855
38,977,264
5,487,905
229,576,858
3,682,520
65,663,286
$

Per Cent of
Increase or
Decrease

increase or
Decrease

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
|

— Denotes decrease this year.

The table shows bank clearings reported by sixteen clearing* house centers in the Fifth District for
the month o f September, 1921, together with comparative figures from fifteen of the cities for the
corresponding month o f 1920. The table also shows the actual amount of increase or decrease in clear­
ings in each city, and the percentage gain or loss in September, 1921, compared with September, 1920.
An examination o f the figures for the two months shows a decrease from $831,255,092 reported for
September, 1920, to $584,628,386, reported for September, 1921, a decline of $246,626,706, or 29.7%.
Increases were reported this year by Raleigh and Washington, but all other cities show lower figures,
the greatest percentage decline being 56.2%, for Newport News, Virginia. The percentage rate of
decline is approximately the same that has been reported for several months, and continues to register
approximately the lowered level o f commodity prices and labor costs.

BUSINESS FAILURES IN THE TW ELVE FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICTS
Number

City and District

Liabilities

Per Cent
Increase

1921
Boston, F irst---------------------------New York, Second-------------------Philadelphia, Third______ ___
Cleveland, Fourth_____________
Richmond, Fifth ______________
Atlanta, Sixth_________________
Chicago, Seventh _____________
St. Louis, Eighth______________
Minneapolis, N inth_______ ____
Kansas City, Tenth____________
Dallas, Eleventh _____ ________
San Francisco, Twelfth________
Totals____________________

1920

124
317
63
118
85
125
179
80
57
61
104
153

73
145
25
65
54
44
67
35
16
26
36
91

69.9
118.6
152.0
81.5
57.4
184.1
167.2
128.6
256.3
134.6
188.9
68.1

$

1,466

677

116.5%

$ 37,020,837

1921
2,725,247
10,439,409
978,713
2,815.406
1,692,840
2,328,764
6,777,026
2,383,404
980,471
1,042,641
2,872,281
1,984,635

1920
$

Per Cent
Increase

1,360,762
14,551,283
1,417,524
1,348,681
1,646,417
500,371
5,679,728
352,873
99,730
466,451
864,924
1,265,544

100.3
28.3—
31.0—
108.8
2.8
365.4
19.3
575.4
883.1
123.5
232.1
56.8

$ 29,554,288

25.3%

W e give herewith the table reported by Dun’s Review, showing the number of failures in the
twelve Federal Reserve Districts for September, 1921 and 1920, with percentages of increase or de­
crease in both the number and the aggregate liabilities involved. The report shows 85 failures in Sep­
tember, 1921 in the Fifth District, compared with 54 reported in September, 1920, an increase this
year o f 57.4%. In total liabilities involved, September, 1921, shows $1,692,840, compared with $1,646,417
for September, 1920, an increase o f only 2.8% this year.
Am ong the twelve Reserve Districts, the
Fifth District shows the lowest percentage increase in number and the third best record in total lia­
bilities involved. The September number of failures, 85, is the lowest reported this year, with the
exception o f June, when 82 were reported, and total liabilities are lower than for any previous months
this year except June and July, which were slightly lower than September. The average liability per
failure in September in the Fifth District was $19,915, and in the United States was $25,252.




LABOR — The labor situation in the Fifth District is little changed from the previous tw o or
three months. The reports reaching- us vary widely as to unemployment, but in general it appears
that there is not much more idleness than usual except in the larger cities to which labor tends to
gravitate when jobs are scarce. There is much unemployment in the W est Virginia coal regions, and
even the miners who are employed are w orking only part time, from two to four days a week, but
the situation and the future outlook are better than they were a month ago. Construction labor is fairly
well employed, but the coming o f winter makes the outlook for this class of labor somewhat proble­
matical. Building permits issued in September, however, appear to insure the building trades fairly
steady employment for the fall months. Reports from individual cities indicate that in Richmond
minor clerical and unskilled workers predominated among those applying to the Public Employment
Bureau for work. Calls from employers were fewer for skilled labor, but the number of calls for
clerical workers, semi-skilled workers, and common labor increased, especially for the last named.
Roanoke reports labor plentiful, with the unemployment list no larger than a month ago. Labor is
said to be well employed at Bristol, Virginia, Chester, S. C., R ock Hill, S. C., Winston-Salem, N. C.,
Greensboro, N. C., and Charleston, W . Va., but in N orfolk, Baltimore and some of the other larger
cities the situation is not so encouraging. There is quite a general complaint among the workers that
retail food prices have not declined in keeping with wholesale prices or wage reductions, and reduc­
tions in rents have been negligible.
TEXTILES — The tendency toward improvement in the textile industry mentioned in our Review
for August, continued during September, although the rate of increase in new business did not measure
up to the increase in August over July. The Government cotton report released early in September
disclosed a shorter supply of cotton than the earlier reports indicated and naturally there was a strong
movement toward covering future requirements for cotton goods. The rapid increase in cotton
prices, however, caused mills to be somewhat reluctant in accepting orders for future delivery, and
some o f the mills either withdrew their lines from the markets entirely or named temporary prices
on a higher basis. Some o f the mills also declined orders for deliveries later than the end o f this year.
The higher prices set by the mills somewhat checked buying, but in spite of this tendency the mills
have sufficient orders to keep them running full time, and many of them are sold out several months
ahead. The manufacturers of tire yarns and fabrics appear to be getting very satisfactory orders,
one large mill reporting that their business has increased 50% in the past month, and another chain
o f mills reporting that they are not quoting for deliveries beyond 1921.
Another large manufac­
turer writes that many mills have closed out nearly all their accumulated stocks and are operating
at full capacity with production sold out well into the future. While prices quoted on cotton textiles
have advanced with the rise in prices o f raw cotton, the mills state that their prices have not more
than kept pace with the advance in raw materials, and that they are still running on a very narrow
basis, with little profit to themselves. Fearing that drastic increases in quotations for textiles
might have a disastrous effect upon the buying movement that is now developing steadily, the mills
are showing a cautious disposition in raising their prices.
CLOTHING — In the men's clothing trade, the usual seasonal activity is slow in beginning, due
partly to continued warm weather and partly to a situation that has arisen between the consumers,
retailers, and manufacturers, in which consumers are demanding a satisfactory suit, made o f good
materials, for about $25, though the retailers claim that they cannot buy such a suit from the manu­
facturers at a price that will enable them to sell to the consumer for less than $40. The manufactur­
ers contend that the wages, cloth, sundries, and freight charges have not decreased sufficiently to en­
able them to produce clothing for the prices that are satisfactory to the retailers, the result being
that there is marked reluctance in placing orders for future needs. In the overall trade, business is
reported as good for September, though that was the first month this year in which anything like
normal business has been reported. The hosiery mills are enjoying a satisfactory volume of business
to keep them running full time, and this applies particularly to the mills that have made only slight
advances in their prices since the recent rise in the prices for raw cotton. Reports indicate that re­
serve stocks in the hands of both retailers and jobbers are light, and unless advancing prices check
the present buying tendency, the future in hosiery and knit goods lines appears bright. The retail
shoe trade had a dull season in September, but business picked up during the latter part of the month,
and is holding up remarkably well. Whether it be true or not is a question, but consumers generally
think that shoe prices have reached a more reasonable level than clothing prices, a belief which has
naturally caused the trade in shoes to be more active than in clothing lines.
FOODS — September is usually an active month in the provision business, and this year is no ex­
ception, though depressed conditions in industry and unemployment in the leading cities have had a
bad effect on the trade. Because of the nature of the business, however, the depression in industry
and unemployment have influenced the grocery trade less than any other line. A large packing
house agency reports to us that their tonnage of sales in September was equal to their tonnage in
September, 1920, but writes that the money value of the products sold was much less. A large pack­
ing house and coffee roaster reports a tonnage sold in September far in excess of the tonnage sales in




September of last year. Peanut cleaners and manufacturers report some improvement in their busi­
ness. but complain of freight charges, and say further that unemployment in the cities has reduced
consumption of peanuts considerably. Canners of foods and fruit report that few packers operated
this year, and say that wholesale grocers and jobbers are beginning to realize that there is a very
small stock o f canned goods in the country. This realization has caused buying to be much more
active of late, and the greater volume of orders has brought some stiffening in the prices quoted
for canned goods.
Some figures on food prices given out by the Department of Labor early in October are interesting.
The figures show an average decrease in the cost o f all foods during the year ending September 15,
1921, amounting to 26% in Baltimore, 22% in Richmond, and 21% in W ashington, but at the same time
the statement is made that retail food prices have increased since 1913 to an amount equal to 67%
in Richmond, 65% in Washington, and 54% in Baltimore.
COAL — For five weeks in succession, ending October 15, the production of soft coal has climbed
steadily upward. During the week ending September 17, total production for the United States passed
the eight million ton mark for the first time since early in June, and during the week ending October
8, the nine million ton mark was passed, for the first time since January. The rate of production
is still below the average in normal years for this season, however, the usual production for October
being at least eleven million tons per week in comparison with the 9,105,000 tons dug during the week
ending October 8. Production for the year 1921, through October 8, is approximately 55,000,000 tons
behind 1919, 106,000,000 tons behind 1920, and about 135,000,000 tons behind the war years, but con­
sumption for industrial purposes continues at a minimum, and therefore the shortage in stocks may
not be as great as the figures indicate. The retail coal trade has been more active for the past month
than previously, but there has been no marked increase. Prices have remained stationary in the re­
tail trade.
TOBACCO — The bright tobacco crop is being marketed steadily on the North Carolina and V ir­
ginia markets. The crop is short, as forecasted in Federal and State government reports earlier in
the season, but the prices realized for the tobacco seem to be fairly satisfactory to the growers.
Prices have shown a rising tendency as the selling advanced, largely due to better grades coming on
the floor. Th e grades from medium to fine are bought eagerly, and at prices that have on a few
markets run as high as $60 to $70 per hundred pounds, but the prices offered for the common tobacco
have continued low, and tend to keep down the market averages. Averages are running somewhat
above $20.00 per hundred on most markets.
The leaf dealers report an active business, especially for cigarette and smoking tobacco, and
manufacturers are receiving their usual business for domestic consumption, but are not yet doing
any appreciable foreign business. A tendency toward lower prices for manufactured goods is noticed,
chiefly through the introduction of new brands of cigarettes and cigars offered in competition with
the already established goods.
COTTON — In our August Review, compiled as of September 15, we told of the rapid increase
in cotton prices follow ing the Government report of a condition of 49.3%, writh an expected yield of
7,037,000 bales. On September 15, the average spot prices on reporting markets in North and South
Carolina was 19.48 cents, middling basis, and the price fluctuated around that point until the close
of the month, the highest price, 20.3 cents, being reached on September 28. Early in October the
Government's final condition report for the season was issued, giving the condition as of September
25, as 42.2% of normal, with a forecast of production of 6,537,000 bales. Anticipating a more un­
favorable condition report than the above mentioned one, the market had previously discounted a loss
of approximately a million bales from the August 25 report, and a reduction of only half a million
bales caught the market over-bought, with a resulting liquidation that has slowly driven prices down
about tw o cents below the average of 20.30 cents, reached on the Carolina markets on September
28. To the depressing effect of this report that was considered somewdiat bearish, has been added
the disturbing influence of the threatened traffic tie-up, resulting in violent fluctuations and nervous
movements through a range of approximately one cent.
The crop is opening very rapidly, and reports indicate that by November 1, practically all of
it will be open, and most of it picked. The top crop is disappointing, and boll weevil damage in South
Carolina has been even more serious than appeared probable earlier in the season. The farmers
are selling quite freely on the rises that touch twenty cents, but appear reluctant to sell for less.
There is some disposition to hold for higher prices, but in the main the farmers appear to feel that,
in view of the economy with which the crop was made this year, they can afford to sell at anything
above twenty cents.




BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF SEPTEMBER, 1921 AND 1920
Permit s Issued
New Construction
C IT IE S

o

1921 1920

fc

Alterations

Repairs

New

1921

1920

1921

1920

1921

1920

Increase or Per Cent,
Decrease,
of
Total
Increaae
Valuation
or
o

Decrease

fc

M aryland

1 Baltim ore...................
2 Cumberland...............
3 Frederick..................

358
27
1

339 1,229
12
21
1
0

809 $2,074,600 $ 290,700 $ 500,000 $ 242,700 $2,041,200
125,305
18
46,851
11,630
8,875
81,209
0
1,300
70
1,230
0
0

4
72
51
*61
4

15
72
120

6
26,425
6 1,495,202
122
687,111
*392,315
1
6,875

36
*82

16

1
2
3

382.7
145.7
1,757.1

V irginia

16
4 Lynchburg................
28
5 Norfolk.....................
6 Richmond................. 126
7 Roanoke.................... *140
3
8 Staunton.....................
W est V irginia
9 C h a r le s to n ...............

81
10 Huntington............. *125
11 Parkersburg.............
N orth C arolina
12 Asheville ..................
13 Charlotte...................
14 D u r h a m ....................

15
16
17
18

Greensboro .............
High Point................

Wilmington................
Winston-Salem..........
South Carolina
19 Charleston.................
20 Colum bia...................

21 Greenville.................
22 Spartanburg..............
D ist .

of

62
54
35
42
32
23
57

44
22
9
27
*20
12
19

38
5
8
19
4
6
80

21
35
38
34

22
8
18
16

14
11
26
27

369

118

162

C olumbia

23 Washington..............

3

1,075
232,240
65,004
*70,145
1,950

4,300
37,828
99, 786

404,289
*157,434
2% 000

137,335
*230,147
40,000

8, 750

2,900

15,000

20,000

33,860
392,650
36,500
54,861
*30,825
338,000
49,700

20,312
5,000
5,625
15,825
575
11,100
21,501

6,283
1,800
5,550
7, 400

58

229,406
309,495
53,910
296, 675
62, 675
87,200
133,245

12
64
17
18

173, 302
135,192
114, 325
84,385

74,394
56,500
102,975
10,425

8, 405
21,492
12, 530
3, 948

425 1, 634, 6G 2,740, 680
0

207, 284

7

14
5
9
2
” 8

1,550

27,850
1,800
6,440 1,294,350
102, 689
619, 204
322,170
1,000
5,475

5

6
7
8

272,804
72,713—
20,000—

194.5
9
31.6— 10
33.3— 11

19,000
13,399

209,572
79,955—
17,485
250,239
32, 425
258,700—
91,647

522.0 12
20.3— 13
41.6 14
401.9 15
105.2 16
72.5— 17
145.2 18

24,780
23,655
15,660
13,270

82, 533
76,‘529
8, 220
64, 618

857,438 1, 756,174—

Totals........... 1707 1,000 1,876 1,601 $8,710,306 $5,036,887 $1,012,441 $1,374,642 $3,311,218
^Includes both new and repairs.

4

968.7
542.3
369.2
459.3
185.6

83.2
95.5
6.9
272.7

19
20
21
22

48.8— 23
51.6%

—Denotes decrease.

Permits for new construction issued in twenty-three of the leading cities of the Fifth District
during September, 1921, totaled 1,707, compared with 1,000 issued in the same cities in September,
1920, a gain this year of 707 permits, or 70.7%. Total valuation of new work provided for in Sep­
tember amounted to $8,710,306, compared with $5,036,887 for September, 1920, an increase this year
of $3,673,419, or 72.9%. Permits for alterations and repairs issued in September, 1921, totaled 1,876,
compared with 1,601 in September, 1920, an increase this year of 275, or 17.2%. Total valuation
for repair work in September, 1921, totaled $1,012,441, compared with $1,374,642 in September, 1920,
a loss this year of $362,201, or 26.3%. In combined valuation for both new work and alterations or
repairs, September, 1921, witnessed a total o f $9,722,747, compared with $6,411,529 in September, 1920,
an increase this year of $3,311,218, or 51.6%.
The record for the month is very gratifying, in that the number of permits issued for new con­
struction is higher than was reported for any month this year except March, and that month was
only 11 permits ahead o f the September number. The number issued in September was greater
than during any month of 1920, and greater than during any month of 1919, except June and July.
The new work provided for consists chiefly o f dwellings and private garages. Baltimore reports 94
tw o-story brick dwellings, 73 tw o-story frame dwellings, and 1 four-story apartment house. Lynch­
burg reports 8 residences. Richmond reports 50 dwellings. Charleston, W . Va., reports 42 dwellings
and 1 apartment house. Durham, N. C., reports 85% of building work to be small residences.
Charleston, S. C., reports most of the work there for dwellings. In the reporting cities a large num­
ber o f additional dwellings are being built outside the city limits, these not showing in the permits
issued by city authorities.
Business in the building material field is fairly active, and reporters write that indications are
bright for the future. Lumber is in better demand than in recent months, and a rising tendency in
its price is mentioned in several letters from dealers. A prominent manufacturer of hardwood millwork reports a considerable gain in orders, especially from New England, northern New Jersey and




around New York. Builders’ hardware is in demand for residence work, and brick dealers report
some increase in orders. The railroads have not yet entered the market to any extent, which^ is
said to be delaying the return to normal in building and construction material lines.
Complaint
against existing freight rates is heard on every side in the building material field.
FIGURES ON RETAIL TRADE.
As Indicated By Reports from Twenty-Five Representative Department Stores
for the Month of September 1921.
Baltimore

Richmond

Washington

Other Cities

District

Percentage decrease in net sales during
September under sales in September
1920 ________ _____ ___________________

—18.9

—12.9

— 11.8

— 19.8

—16.2

Percentage decrease in net sales from
July 1 through September, under sales
during the same three months of 1920_

—17.8

—11.7

— 6.1

— 13.0

—12.7

Percentage increase in net sales during
September 1921 over sales in August
1921 __________________________________

18.4

21.4

2.3

1.0

10.3

Percentage decrease in stocks on hand
at the end of September under stocks
on hand at the end of September 1920__

—21.1

—13.5

—17.5

—13.8

—17.9

Percentage increase in stocks on hand at
the end of September over stocks on
hand at the end of August 1921_______

17.4

15.4

11.8

17.0

16.8

Percentage of average stocks on hand at
the end of each month since July 1,
1921, to average monthly sales during
the same three months_______________

477.9

460.2

481.4

553.9

490.4

Percentage of outstanding orders at the
end of September 1921 to total pur­
chases of merchandise during the calen­
dar year 1920_________________________

7.9

12.7

6.4

6.3

7.7

N

— Denotes decrease.

Confidential reports received at the end o f September from twenty-five of the leading depart­
ment and general stores in the Fifth District show a decrease in the dollar value o f sales during
that month in comparison with sales during September, 1920, amounting to 16.2%, the greatest decrease
reported for any month this year in comparison with the corresponding month of 1920.
Sales in
September of this year were 10.3% greater than sales in August, however, but this is largely a sea­
sonal increase, as fall buying gets under way. In comparison with the cumulative sales from the
first of July through the end of September, the three months this year show a decrease o f 12.7% under
sales during the same three months of 1920.
The selling value o f stocks on hand at the end of September was 17.9% less than stocks on hand
at the same time last year, but 16.8% greater than the value of stocks on hand at the end o f August,
1921, a natural increase at this season of the year. The average value of stocks on hand during the
three months since July 1, 1921, was 490.4% of average monthly sales during the same three months,
the highest figure shown for any similar period this year, which would seem to indicate that the
retailers are becom ing somewhat more confident of the stability of values and are. therefore grad­
ually increasing their stocks over the low point reached last spring.
Outstanding orders for merchandise at the end of September, 1921, amounted to 7.7% o f total
purchases o f merchandise during the calendar year 1920, but this figure is not quite as significant this
season as in normal years, because retailers are buying a large part of their goods for immediate de­
livery and are placing as few orders for future delivery as possible.




REPORT ON WHOLESALE TRADE.
Net

LINES SOLD

Sales

in

September,

1921, Compared

with

Sales in August 1921

Sales in September 1920

7.5%
8.1
— 0.5
10.3
2.7

—30.5%
— 3.4
18.5
—31.4
4.0

6.0%

—13.3%

Groceries (9)* --------------------------------------------------- j
Dry Goods (7)*-------------------------------------------------- !
Shoes (8)* _
_____
-------- - -------- !
Hardware (19)* _
- — - —
Furniture (23)*__ __________ ______ _______ !
Total Averages (66)*_ _ _ __

_

—

!

*Number of reporting firms.

The confidential reports on wholesale trade received from dealers in groceries, dry goods, boots
and shoes, hardware and furniture for the month of September reflect the improved situation in the
business activity of the Fifth District. All lines reported upon show increased sales over the preced­
ing month except boots and shoes, in which line sales wrere practically the same in September and
August. In comparison with the corresponding month of last year, the September sales show
up better than any previous month in 1921, the average for all lines reported upon being only 13.3%
less than September, 1920, sales. The dollar value of business done in dry goods during September,
amounted to only 3.4% less than in September, 1920. Boots and shoes sales were 18.5% greater than
in September, 1920, and furniture sales were 4% greater this September than last. The grocery and
hardware sales probably reflect the price declines since September, 1920.
W e increased the number o f reporting furniture factories and jobbers during September, and
the averages given herewith were made up from twenty-three reports.
The follow ing table shows how the sixty-six wholesale firms classified their collections during
September, 1921:




Lines Sold
Good
Groceries _________________________ ___ 2
Dry G ood s________________________ ___ 2
Boot and S h o e s___________________ ___ 0
H ardw are_________________________ ___ 2
Furniture_________________________ ___ 3
TOTALS___________ ___ 9

Fair
6
5
7
14
16
48

(Compiled October 17, 1921)

Slow
Poor
1
0
0
0
1
0
2
1
4
0
8
1

Total
9
7
8
19
23
66

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