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Volume X X X II

Number 5

MAY, 1950

Retail Trade in 1950
Review And Outlook
Consumer spending in Eighth District retail stores
so far in 1950 has run higher than in the opening
months of 1949. A good many retailers expect that
sales through June will continue to total larger
than last year. And their optimism does not end
with midnight of June 30 for they expect the usual
seasonal lift will push second-half volume higher
than that of the first six months and the like period
of 1949. If anticipations become realities, district
retailers thus will ring up more dollars in 1950 than
in 1949.
These are some of the collective opinions ex­
pressed early in April by a representative group
of retailers in six lines of trade in this district. It
should be emphasized that not all dealers had a
good first quarter, nor do all retailers share the
optimistic outlook with respect to the future. But
the general sentiment seems to be on the bright
side.
The major factor in higher sales this year— both
in the nation and in the district— has been the aver­
age man’s desire for a new car. Running a close
second in importance is his desire for a television
set, a new stove, icebox, dishwasher or other ap­
pliance, some new furniture, and materials for
building new houses in which to enjoy this equip­
ment. Hard goods in general are sparking the
retail boom— soft lines are registering some declines.
This tendency, of course, is not new in 1950.
Throughout the postwar years consumers have been
plunking down an increasing amount of dollars for
hard goods— particularly for automobiles. So-called
deferred demand naturally was concentrated in
these lines and high incomes brought increased
current demand for them.



T H E 1949 SALE S R ECO R D

Last year for the first time since 1938 total retail
sales failed to gain over the previous year’s volume.
Nationally, sales totaled $128 billion— off $2 billion
from the 1948 peak. In this district, the drop was
smaller percentagewise but there was a decline. In
both district and nation the smaller dollar volume
reflected lower average prices— perhaps lower prices
were almost the sole factor in the decline for unit
volume seems to have been about as large as in 1948.
The retail sales dip began late in 1948 and ran
well into 1949. By midyear few retailers except
automobile and television dealers could boast larger
sales than in 1948. Total retail sales in the first
half of 1949 were down 1 or 2 per cent from a year
earlier.
In the last half of 1949, sales totals looked better.
Partly they reflected a real increase in volume;
partly they just looked better because they were
being compared with the unfavorable part of 1948.
Automobiles and television continued to lead the
sales parade, but housefurnishings finished strong
also and some major appliances showed signs of
recovering from the quiet of early 1949. Soft goods
sales continued to fall behind 1948 totals.
One important factor that influenced the sales
trend in automobiles and other consumers’ durable
goods late in 1949, and helped maintain total retail
sales, was the elimination of consumer credit regu­
lations in midyear. Many consumers who pre­
viously had been reluctant or unable to buy while
these controls were in effect came into the market
for hard goods. In many cases, their interest in
buying was whetted by exceedingly attractive
credit terms offered by dealers who were facing
increasing competition. As a result, credit sales

expanded considerably. W hile this expansion also
extended to soft goods lines, most of the impetus
was concentrated in durables and to that extent
encouraged a shift in spending from soft to hard
goods.
District Experience— As mentioned, district re­
tailers generally did a little better, relative to 1948,
than their counterparts elsewhere in the nation.
Women’s specialty stores and jewelry stores were
among the few lines that reported larger-than-national-average declines. Most other lines that ex­
perienced sales dips— for example, furniture and
h a rd w a re stores— had less-than-national-average
drops. And where demand was heavy— autos, tele­
vision and appliances— district sales gains were
larger than those elsewhere.
According to a good many of the retailers sur­
veyed, last-half 1949 volume was as good as or
better than they had expected. Most furniture and
appliance dealers turned in sales records consider­
ably larger than had been anticipated at mid-1949.
Not all, of course, were so pleasantly surprised
when they added up their second-half sales slips—
one-fourth of the furniture stores and one-third of
the appliance dealers had expected larger sales than
materialized.
Consumers spent about as many dollars in men's
clothing stores as these retailers anticipated. In
the women’s apparel stores, however, midyear
optimism apparently ran too high. Here sales were
from 5 per cent to 25 per cent smaller than dealers
thought they would be. Most district department
store executives reported their business was as good
as or better than they expected in the last half of
1949. But one-third of those surveyed said sales
were smaller than they planned.
SO F A R I N 1950

Sales of furniture, automobiles, household ap­
pliances and most durable goods except jewelry are
running ahead of last year here and in most other
parts of the country. At the same time, sales of
apparel, shoes and other nondurable goods are drop­
ping below those early in 1949.
In this district, retailers generally have continued
to do relatively better than those in the nation as a
whole. Sales in the furniture, household appliance
and radio stores have been up more than nationally.
Automobile sales, too, have shown relatively better
gains. Department stores in the district report sales
that are off 2 per cent as compared with a national
decline of 3 per cent. But on the other hand, district
apparel and jewelry store sales have declined more
than the national average.
Page 66




The 1950 sales record so far also has surprised
many district retailers— some pleasantly, some dis­
appointingly. Most appliance dealers reported firstquarter totals were larger than anticipated— in some
cases as much as twice as large. A number of furni­
ture store operators also were too pessimistic about
the first three months of 1950—but one-third of
those surveyed were shocked by sales running from
5 to 30 per cent below anticipations.
At department stores, where sales were off 2
per cent in the quarter, executives indicated that
the decline was not fully anticipated. In some cases,
sales were off as much as one-seventh from expected
levels. Men's clothing stores also estimated sales
would be from 5 to 15 per cent larger than they have
been so far—and at women’s apparel stores actual
volume was reported to be from 5 to 25 per cent
smaller than was anticipated.

Easter Sales—Not Good — Consumers usually
spend a lot of money for new hats, suits, coats and
other apparel in the last week or two before Easter.
This is the traditional time to switch from heavy
winter clothing to the bright, new finery of spring.
Retailers depend on this seasonal buying splurge to
push their sales up from the low levels following
Christmas. H ow much lift the Easter buying pro­
vides is contingent in part on how early, or late, in
the season Easter Sunday falls. And it also depends
on the weather.
This year both the timing of Easter and the
weather were unfavorable from the retailer’s point
of view. Easter was early and the weather was bad.
As a result, apparel and other sales that normally
are influenced by Easter buying were somewhat
disappointing to retailers in most parts of the dis­
trict. Also, a relative lack of style changes in
women’s clothing and the previously noted demand
for hard goods held down spring apparel buying.
Consumers failed to increase their spending for the
soft lines as much as they usually do from the preEaster season levels— and sales generally totaled
less than in the Easter buying season last year.
R E T A IL E R S ’ A P P R A IS A L O F 1950

The way sales have shaped up so far in 1950 is
a pretty fair indication of retailers’ expectations
with respect to developments in the coming months.
If retailers are right in their forecasts, district sales
in the first half should total larger than in 1949.
First Half of 1950—Appliance and furniture deal­
ers, encouraged by sales performance in the initial
months of the year, expect sales in the first six
months will be larger than they were last year.
Optimism is stronger at appliance stores than at

furniture stores. Some appliance dealers expect their
first-half sales to be twice what they were last year.
But soft goods stores— particularly department
stores— are more conservative in their estimates.
Less than half of the department store executives
expect sales to equal or exceed last year’s volume.
The remainder are looking for a year-to-year drop
of from 3 to 10 per cent. This is about the same sort
of a decline anticipated in women’s clothing stores
by more than half of the executives in the survey.
Even larger reductions are expected in sales at
men’s clothing stores where two-thirds of the stores
look for first-half sales to drop as much as IS per
cent from last year’s levels.
Last Half of 1950— Most of the district retailers
who were surveyed expect their sales in the last
half of the year will be larger than those in the first
six months. In many lines, of course, an increase in
the last half is a normal development. In apparel
stores, for example, fall and winter months mean
sales of heavy clothing at unit prices that are higher
than those charged for spring and summer apparel.
And, at most stores, Christmas buying makes N o­
vember and December very big volume months.
In addition to the fact that sales normally move
up late in the year, the expected increase also is
based on other factors. Merchants selling soft goods
feel that there has been an improvement in the
supply of better quality low-price merchandise,
which they hope will persuade “ bargain conscious”
customers to buy. In appliance and furniture stores,
executives point to the high levels of home building
as a major influence. Other factors in the optimistic
outlook include the volume of replacement demand
if income continues high, maturing savings bonds,
a better retail timing of seasonal merchandise, the
upswing in rural areas at fall harvest time and the
hope that some of the uncertainties of labor dis­
putes, both local and national, will be out of the
picture.
On the pessimistic side, some soft goods stores
feel that, as at present, consumers will continue to
spend a larger share of their income for hard goods.
They also point out that, in view of price declines
since 1949, more units must be moved to maintain
dollar volume. So dealers feel that credit extensions
will have to be graded more carefully in view of the
growing number of delinquent accounts. In the
rural areas, the downturn of agricultural income is
viewed as the major limiting factor.
Retailers point out that consumers continue to
concentrate their buying in medium-price lines when
possible. This was evident to them in the last half
of 1949 and the tendency has continued this year.




Credit sales have been an important factor so far
this year and probably will continue to be significant
in the remainder of 1950. There was an increase in
credit volume in the last half of 1949 in each of the
lines covered in this survey. Expansion was more
apparent in hard goods than in the soft goods stores,
but even in nondurables outlets about half the stores
reported larger credit volume in the last half than
in the first six months of 1949.
Inventories — Most district retailers apparently
are satisfied that present inventories are adequate in
relation to current sales. About one out of three,
however, thinks stocks are a little large. Few out­
lets other than automobile dealers and isolated in­
stances in the appliance field have smaller stocks
than they would like. In the soft goods lines, most
stores have their inventories pretty well in line with
sales. This probably accounts for the fact that,
despite a disappointing Easter business, retailers did
not have to resort to heavy mark-downs and clear­
ance sales after Easter.
Outstanding Orders— Most lines except women’s
wear stores have about as much goods on order
now as at the same time last year. W omen’s apparel
stores report orders are about 20 per cent smaller
than a year ago. A t furniture and appliance stores,
orders are equal to approximately one and one-half
months* sales. At women’s wear and department
stores, they are equivalent to two months’ sales, on
the average, and at men’s wear stores, about three
to four months’ sales.
Price Outlook— If retailers’ expectations material­
ize, there will be little change in prices in the second
half of 1950. Prices they pay and prices charged the
consumer are expected to average out at about the
same level as in the first half of 1950. The principal
exception is in the appliance field where some re­
tailers expect competition to force price reductions
on merchandise they sell— but expect prices they
pay to hold steady.
D IS T R IC T C IT IE S ’ T R E N D S A N D O U T L O O K

St. Louis Area—Total retail sales in the St. Louis
area were up 7 per cent from 1949 during the first
two months of 1950. As in the remainder of the
district, larger spending for automobiles, appliances,
radio and television, and furniture accounted for the
increase. In most cases the gains were somewhat
larger than dealers anticipated. Automobile sales
were up 40 per cent and the demand remains strong.
Sales of soft goods generally were down from a
year ago. Department stores’ sales in the first
quarter were off 2 per cent and totaled less than
expected. Apparel lines also did less business than
last year— and also less than anticipated. Some imPage 67

TRADE
D E P A R TM E N T STORES
Stocks
on H and

N e t Sales

Stock
Turnover

M arch, 1950
3 m os. *50 M ar. 31, '5 0 Jan. 1, to
compared with
to same comp, with
M arch 31,
F eb., *50 M a r., *49 period *49 M ar. 31, *49 1950
1949
8th F .R . District.. + 2 8 %
— 1%
— 2%
+ 1%
.88
.89
F t. Smith, A rk .... + 2 4
— 4
— 7
— 2
.85
.90
Little R ock, A rk . + 1 9
+7
— 3
+6
.87
.92
— 1
+1
+3
.71
.69
Q uincy, 111.....___ + 3 0
Evansville, In d__ + 4 8
+1
— 2
— 1
.79
.74
Louisville, K y ...... + 4 2
- 0 — 2
+2
.94
.95
St. Louis Area *.. + 2 6
— 2
— 2
— 2
.90
.89
St. Louis, M o .. + 2 6
— 3
— 2
— 2
.91
.90
Springfield, M o ... + 3 2
— 1
+1
— S
.71
.65
M emphis, Tenn... + 1 9
+2
— 1
+7
.92
.97
*A11 other cities... + 3 7
— 2
— 7
+5
.62
.64
*E1 Dorado, Fayetteville, Pine B lu ff, A r k .; Harrisburg’, M t. Vernon,
111.; N ew A lbany, Vincennes, I n d .; D anville, H opkinsville, M ayfield,
Paducah, K y . ; Chillicothe, M o . ; Greenville, M i s s .; and Jackson, Tenn.
1 Includes St. Louis, M o . ; A lton , Belleville, and East St. L ouis, 111.
Outstanding orders o f reporting stores at the end of M arch, 1950, were
4 per cent greater than on the corresponding date a year ago.
Percentage of accounts and notes receivable outstanding M arch 1, 1950,
collected during M arch, by cities:
Instalm ent E x cl. Instal.
Instalm ent E x cl. Instal.
Accounts
Accounts
Accounts
Accounts
46%
Q uincy ................
19%
61%
Fort Smith................. . %
Little R o d e ......
16
44
St. Louis.............
19
55
L o u isv ille ...........
21
54
O ther C ities...... 15
59
Memphis ........... 22
43
8 th F .R . D ist... 19
51

IN D E X E S

OF

D E P A R T M E N T STO R E SA LE S A N D
8th Federal Reserve District
M a r.,
1950
285
297
317
326

Sales (daily average), unadjusted*................
Sales (daily average), seasonally adjusted *..
Stocks, unadjusted 8................................................
Stocks, seasonally adjusted 8.;.........................
* D aily Average 1935-39 = 100.
8 End of M onth Average 1935-39 = 100.

F eb.,
1950
252^
300
289
321

STOCKS
Jan.,
1950
232
282
248
288

M a r.,
1949
287
309
314
323

S P E C IA L T Y ST O R E S
Stocks
Stock
N et Sales
on H and
Turnover
M arch, 1950
3 mos. *50 M ar. 31,*50
Jan. 1, to
compared with
to same comp, with
M ar. 31,
F e b .,*50 M a r.,*49 period '49 M ar. 3 1 /4 9 1950
1949
M en ’s Furnishings.w . + 2 9 %
+5%
— 3%
— 9%
.57
.57
Boots and Shoes_____ + 5 4
+7
- 0— 3
.93
.89
Percentage of accounts and notes receivable outstanding M arch 1,
1950, collected during M a r ch :
M en ’s Furnishings ................... 4 7 %
B oots and Shoes....................... 4 6 %
Trading d a y s:
M arch,
1950— 2 7 ;
February,
1950— 2 4 ;
M arch,
1949— 27.

R E T A IL F U R N IT U R E S T O R E S **
N e t Sales
M arch, 1950
compared with
F e b .,*50 M a r .,*49

8 th

Inventories

Ratio

M arch, 1950
o f,
compared with
Collections
F e b .,*50 M a r.,*49 M a r .,*50 M a r.,*49
28
26%
— 2%
+ 4%
53
+ 1
+ 5
49
+ 1
+ 5
54
50
+ 9
16
18
+ 1
- 017
+ 9
16
— 16
14
18
+ 4
+ 12
17
21
+ 1
— 4
17
23
+ 12
*
*
•
*

D ist. Total h
+26%
+ 18%
S t Louis Area K
+28
+24
St. Louis..........
+28
+25
+44
Louisville Area 8 + 34
Louisville........
+ 35
+42
M em phis................
— 9
+ 1
+ 13
Little Rock..— ...
+ 17
+33
+ 3
Springfield..........
+37
— 5
F o rt Smith...........
*
N o t shown separately due to insufficient coverage, but included in
E ighth District totals.
1 In addition to following cities, includes stores in Blytheville, and
Pine B luff, A rk an sa s; H opkinsville, O wensboro, K en tu c k y ; Greenwood,
M ississippi; Hannibal and Springfield, M issou ri; and Evansville, Indiana.
2 Includes St. L ouis, M isso u ri; and A lton , Illinois.
8 Includes Louisville, K e n tu c k y ; and N ew Albany, Indiana.
* * 41 stores reporting.

PERCENTAGE
Cash Sales...................
Credit Sales..............
Total Sales..............

Page 68




D IS T R IB U T IO N O F F U R N IT U R E SA L E S
M arch, 1950 February, 1950
M arch 1949
12 %
15%
14%
88
85
86
100%
100%
100%

provement is expected in department stores in the
second quarter, however. These stores indicated that
total first-half-year sales might be a little larger
this year than in 1949. Sales in the last half of 19S0
are expected to equal or exceed those in the first
half, with most of the gain resulting from seasonal
factors.
Stores in this area believe their inventories are
in good shape, relative to sales, and outstanding
orders are about the same as or smaller than a year
ago, except at department stores.
Louisville— The demand for durable goods items
has kept sales in these lines at or above year-ago
levels. Furniture store sales were up some 20 per
cent in the first three months. Despite the gain in
appliance store sales, dealers indicate that volume
has been a little less than they expected it would be.
Department stores did 2 per cent less business in
the first quarter than a year earlier, which was a
smaller decline than anticipated.
Retailers in each of the six lines surveyed expect
that sales in the first six months will total larger
than last year. At department stores, furniture, ap­
pliance and automobile outlets the seasonal swing
late in 1950 is expected to lift sales.
Memphis-—
Many retailers in Memphis expect
sales in the first half of 1950 will be about the same
as in 1949. The exceptions are appliance and auto­
mobile dealers who believe their sales will move
ahead of last year. All lines except apparel are
looking for the seasonal climb late in 1950. As in
other cities, first-quarter sales in department and
apparel stores were off. These declines were about
what were expected by dealers. The increase at
furniture stores came as no surprise to these dealers,
but appliance outlets have experienced gains that
were larger than expected.
Inventories at department, apparel and furniture
stores are considered by executives as being a little
too large relative to current sales. Appliance dealers
apparently are satisfied with their present level of
stocks.
Little Rock— In contrast to other district cities,
sales volume in Little Rock fell below last year in
five of the six lines surveyed. The only exception
was in automobiles. Furniture store sales were off
slightly. Easter shopping increased sales in some
department and apparel stores close to anticipated
levels, but for the year to date volume remained
below last year. Store executives anticipate that
sales in the first six months will be smaller than in
1949. The seasonal upswing late in the year is not
likely to do much for sales in that period, according
to the store executives surveyed. In this area, the

anticipated drop in farm income apparently is
weighted heavily by retailers in their planning for
the remainder of 1950.
Dealers believe they have their inventories fairly
well in line with current sales. Outstanding orders
are at about the same level as a year ago.
Springfield— Despite a 1 per cent gain in depart­
ment store sales in the first quarter, executives in
this line reported that sales were still about 5 per
cent smaller than they expected them to be. A favor­

able comparison with last year is anticipated through
the first six months, but the rate of gain is not ex­
pected to continue in the last half of 1950.
Furniture store sales are up about one-fifth from
early 1949 and these dealers apparently expect to
continue making a strong comparison with last
year’s volume.
W eldon A. Stein
Alfred C. Kearschner

Sales On Credit In 1949
“ Take the cash and let the credit go” was hardly
the motto of Eighth District retailers in 1949. A c­
cording to the latest Retail Credit Survey in the
Eighth Federal Reserve District, covering nine
lines of retail trade, credit sales of many district
stores ran in larger totals than cash sales— and
accounted for a larger proportion of total volume
than in 1948. At automobile dealers, at department
and apparel stores, at furniture, appliance and hard­
ware dealers; and even at jewelry stores, “ on-thecuff” business picked up last year.
Sales were generally good in the nine lines sur­
veyed— averaging just 2 per cent less than in 1948.
Price declines accounted for most, if not all, of this
minor drop. In two lines, both handling hard goods,
1949 sales topped those of 1948. Inventories were
smaller, at least in value, at the end of 1949 than a
year earlier. But instalment receivables were larger
at the close of last year than at the end of 1948,
both in absolute amount and relative to total sales.
These are some of the conclusions drawn from re­
ports submitted in connection with the 1949 Retail
Credit Survey by 348 stores whose aggregate sales
were a little under $400 million last year.
The fact that consumer credit expanded in 1949
— in the nation as well as in the district-—is no
longer news. There was a steady increase in the
amount outstanding throughout the year, particu-

The eighth annual Retail Credit Survey in the Eighth
District is summarized in this article. The results of the
1949 survey on a national basis will be published later by
the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Copies of the national survey may be obtained upon request.
Only retail stores in nine retail trade lines making credit
sales are covered in this survey—all others are excluded.
Reporting stores furnished data on total net sales, sales by
type of transaction (cash and C.O.D., open credit and
instalment), inventories, receivables (open credit and instal­
ment) and instalment paper sold during the year. Coverage
for the district includes mainly independent retailers with a
few retail outlets of local chains. Most national chains
report consolidated data (which cannot be allocated to the
various Federal Reserve districts) direct to the Board of
Governors to be included in the national survey.




larly in instalment credit. Nationally, there also
was some gain in charge account and service credit
and in single-payment loan volume.
The upward trend in consumer credit volume dur­
ing 1949 can be attributed to the usual reasons for
such expansion, plus a few new ones. Some con­
sumers were low on cash. But the number of con­
sumers in these circumstances was not very much
larger in 1949 than in 1948. Income was off only
slightly in 1949, and by no larger a percentage than
the decline in consumers’ prices.
In this district, as elsewhere in the nation, a large
part of the explanation lies in the fact that last year
consumers bought more automobiles and household
appliances than in 1948 and less clothing and other
soft goods items. These items— automobiles and
appliances— for most families represent major cap­
ital investments which can be made only if credit
terms are available.
In the first half of the year, credit arrangements
could be made for the purchase of these major
items but the terms were subject to limitations
imposed under the provisions of Regulation W . As
limitations were eased, and especially after the ex­
piration of these controls at the end of June, com­
petitive market conditions tended to bring about the
relaxation of credit terms. It became easier for con­
sumers to finance the purchase of a new car, a re­
frigerator, and the like. In the non-instalment credit
field, too, requirements were eased as competition
for the consumer’s dollar increased.
The fact that automobiles and household appli­
ances, as well as consumers’ goods generally, were
more plentiful in 1949 than in 1948 also tended to
swell the demand for credit. Sales of such items,
which normally account for a sizable part of all
consumer credit, were not so limited by short
supplies. Under these circumstances there probably
would have been an increase in the amount of
credit outstanding, with or without credit controls.
In this district there were other factors at work,
too, particularly in some of the durable goods lines.
Page 69

D ISTRIBUTIO N
EIGHTH

OF SALES IN NINE TRADE

LINES

FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT, 1949-1948
P*r C«nt

O

AUTOMOBILE

DEALERS

AUTOMOBILE
ACCESSORY

20

TIRE ANO
STORES

DEPARTMENT

STORES

FURNITURE

STORES

HARDWARE

STORES

HOUSEHOLD
STORES

JEWELRY

MENS

WOMENS

APPLIANCE

STORES

WEAR

STORES

APPAREL STORES

CASH AND
C.O.D. SALES

OPEN

CREDIT

sa l es

INSTALMENT
SALES

Enlarged supplies of natural gas became available in
the St. Louis area during the year, greatly increasing
the demand for household and commercial heating
equipment. As in many other parts of the country,
the demand for television sets expanded consider­
ably in portions of the district within range of tele­
vision broadcasting stations. This increase tended
to swell credit sales volume which in turn helped
hold total sales last year close to 1948 levels.

Combined sales of the 348 stores covered in the
Retail Credit Survey were only 2 per cent smaller
than in 1948. Only two of the nine lines from which
reports were obtained showed an increase. Both
were in the durable goods field. Household appli­
ance stores reported a gain of about one-third and
automobile dealers showed an increase of 14 per
cent over 1948 sales volume. In other durable goods

lines, sales declines ranged from 2 per cent at furni­
ture stores to 9 per cent in automobile tire and ac­
cessory outlets. Hardware store sales were off 5
per cent and jewelry store sales dropped 7 per cent
in the year.
Stores handling nondurable lines showed sales
that totaled less than in 1948. W om en’s specialty
stores’ volume was down 9 per cent and men’s wear
store sales were 8 per cent under those in the
previous year. A t department stores, where sales
were down 5 per cent, the decline in soft goods
volume was offset somewhat by increased sales of
durable goods. In each group of stores, of course,
lower average prices in 1949 accounted for some of
the decrease in sales volume.

Cash sales in most stores showed a drop during
the year. This tendency showed up in each of the
lines covered by the survey except automobile and
household appliance dealers. Where they occurred
the declines ranged from 8 per cent in department
stores to 15 per cent in jewelry stores. The ratio
of cash sales to total sales also declined generally
in all nine lines. The largest decrease occurred at
household appliance dealers where cash sales ac­
counted for 34 per cent of total sales in 1949 as com­
pared with 42 per cent in 1948. A t women’s apparel
stores the change was relatively small, with cash
sales accounting for 40 per cent of the total in 1949
as compared with 41 per cent in the previous year.
Open credit (charge account) sales volume in the
year declined in all lines covered in this district in
the survey. These decreases ranged from 1 per cent
at automobile dealers to 14 per cent at household
appliance dealers. In some stores, however, this
type of credit business accounted for a larger pro­
portion of total sales last year than in 1948 because
total volume fell off more than open account sales.
This was true of men’s clothing stores, women’s
apparel stores and department stores.
Instalment sales volume during 1949 increased
at all but women’s apparel and men’s clothing stores.
The largest gains, of course, occurred in the durable
goods lines. In hardware stores the increase was 74
per cent. Household appliance dealers reported a
rise of 62 per cent while at automobile dealers,

1949 R E T A I L C R E D I T S U R V E Y - E I G H T H F E D E R A L R E S E R V E D I S T R I C T
_________________ 1949 compared with 1948
Ratio of
R atio o f Receivables
D ec. 31
In stal­
T otal N e t Sales
O pen
Total
Cash and
to Total N e t Sales
Inven­
m ent
to Inventories
Open Credit
K in d of Business
N et
C .O .D .
Credit
Instalm ent
tories
1949
1948
Sales
Sales
1949
1948
Sales
Sales
1949
1948
— 6 io
13.0
+ 57%
10.6
1.5
1.8
Autom obile D ealers...... .................................. ~ + 1 4 %
1.9
+ 7%
— 1%
‘ 1.1
5.3
— 16
5.8
Autom obile Tire and Accessory Stores.. . . r - 9
8.7
6.8
— 13
+21
6.8
— 11
3 .4
10.6
4 .9
4.8
9.9
+ 6
— 6
— 4
Department Stores..
..— 5
— 8
4.1
3 .2
— 3
— 13
2.6
+ 2
2.9
1.1
Furniture Stores...*....,...............
— 13
0.8
2
39.5
32.7
— 6
+74
2.9
2.9
7.9
Hardware Stores..
— 13
7.6
4.6
w— 5
— 5
2.2
— 4
4 .2
3.1
1.3
1.4
+62
H ousehold Appliance S tore s..................... . . + 3 0
24.2
— 14
+ 6
16.9
— 8
10.2
1.7
9.8
Jewelry S to re s.......................................«....
+ 10
17.8
1.7
7
— 15
— 11
14.0
15.4
14.3
— 19
— 7
2 .9
2.9
0.8
— 13
— 4
M en ’s Clothing S tores...................................
8
0.9
— 19
5.7
5.0
13.0
12.4
10.4
W o m e n 's Apparel Stores...
— 19
9
— 10
— 8
11.8
SU M M ARY

Page 70




DATA

instalment sales were up 57 per cent. The smallest
increase in such sales in the heavy goods lines was
at furniture stores where instalment purchases were
only 2 per cent larger than in 1948.
In most lines, instalment volume accounted for
a larger part of total sales in 1949 than in the pre­
vious year. Where this did not occur— in men’s and
women’s apparel stores—instalment sales represent
a minor portion of the total. At hardware stores, 9
per cent of sales were on instalment credit terms
last year. In 1948 the proportion was 5 per cent.
Household appliance dealers saw this ratio move
from nearly 49 per cent in 1948 to 60 per cent last
year. At furniture stores, the porportion moved up
only slightly— from 59 per cent to 61 per cent.
Automobile dealers reported that a little less than
one-fourth of their sales last year were on the in­
stalment plan as compared with about 18 per cent
in 1948. It is likely that in each year the car dealers’
ratio is somewhat understated in terms of the ulti­
mate method of payment used by the purchaser.
That is, many auto sales are on a cash basis inso­
far as the dealer is concerned, but part of the funds
used by the consumer actually is borrowed and will
be repaid over an extended period.

All nine lines of trade ended the year with in­
ventories at a lower level than a year earlier in terms
of dollar value. The declines ranged from 4 per cent
at household appliance stores to 19 per cent in
women’s apparel stores. Relative to total net sales,
however, inventories in most lines were a little
larger than in the previous year. The exceptions
were jewelry, hardware and men’s clothing stores
where the ratio was unchanged.
The volume of open account receivables outstand­
ing at the end of 1949 was higher than a year earlier
in only four lines. These were automobile tire and
accessory dealers, department stores, furniture
stores and household appliance dealers. Relative
to total sales, open credit receivables were larger
than a year earlier in all but two lines— automobile
dealers and household appliance stores.
Instalment receivables on December 31,1949 were
larger than on the same date in 1948 in all lines
except men’s clothing and women’s apparel stores.
Substantial gains in the ratio of instalment receiv­
ables to instalment sales were registered in all but
the same two lines.

Alfred C. Kearschner
Marie Wahlig

Survey of Current Conditions
Optimism concerning the immediate economic
outlook is running higher in this district and in the
nation. Most of the statistical indicators are pointing
to high-level activity, and reports from official
bodies and from businessmen generally are on the
favorable side. It is difficult to find much direct sup­
port for pessimism about the shortrun future.
Both nationally and districtwise, production is
increasing, construction is moving to new peacetime
highs, business investment is larger than was an­
ticipated, prices (except for farm products) continue
stable, income holds up, and consumers continue to
spend freely and indicate that their wants for hous­
ing, automobiles and other durables are far from
satisfied. Government will spend more this year
than it takes in. Employment is picking up season­
ally. Except for prospects for lower farm income and
the higher level of unemployment (which reflects
an increased labor force rather than a decrease in
employment), statistical evidence is encouraging.
The farm outlook—smaller acreage and probable
lower average prices— worries people in the district
more than in the nation as a whole. Agriculture




accounts for about one-fourth of the district’s total
income in contrast with one-tenth for the United
States. Unfavorable developments in farming gen­
erally would have more serious repercussions here
than in the nation.
The district also has some soft spots in its econ­
omy. Unemployment is rated by the employment
source as “ very substantial” in some southern Illi­
nois communities and as “ substantial” in some other
district cities.
But aside from these factors the district indicators
also look good. On the record so far, neither the
softness in agriculture nor the spotty unemploy­
ment has had much effect on the district economy.
Total production in the nation continued to in­
crease in the first quarter. Goods and services were
produced at an annual rate of $258 billion, according
to preliminary estimates. This is only about 2 per
cent below the level of output in the first three
months of 1949—and is within 5 per cent of the peak
quarter of 1948.
The slight decrease relative to early 1949 reflects
a minor drop in prices and some decline in indusPage 71

trial output this year. Restricted by major work
stoppages in the coal and automobile industries,
factory and mine production through March was
about 3 per cent smaller than in the same period
last year. However, the impact of these strikes now
seems to have been somewhat less serious in terms
of curtailed production than appeared likely at the
time of the stoppages.
Personal income in the first quarter, excluding
G. I. insurance refunds, was about as large this
year as in the early part of 1949 and was only about
2 per cent less than in the peak quarter of 1948.
W age and salary income held at about the same
level that has prevailed since February of last year.
Cash farm income from marketings so far this year
is off about 5 per cent from last year in the nation.
Reflecting the district’s relatively poor crop outturn
last year, farmers in the district states have taken
a somewhat larger decline, the drop averaging 7
per cent.
Consumers’ expenditures increased slightly in the
first quarter and were about as large as in the peak
quarter in 1948, according to preliminary estimates.
Larger spending for automobiles and other hard
goods and for services compensated for a decline
in outlays for soft goods. When allowance is made
for the drop in average prices since late 1948, an
increase in physical volume of goods purchased is
indicated. The boom in automobile buying is a
strong influence in maintaining the current level of
retail sales and developments in this field will bear
watching as the year progresses.
The maintenance of consumers' buying has tended
to encourage capital investment by business, par­
ticularly in new equipment. The value of new
orders received by manufacturers of nonelectrical
machinery in the first two months this year aver­
aged well above that in any month in 1949 and com­
pared favorably with the peak months in 1948.
PR IC ES
W H O L E S A L E P R IC E S IN T H E U N IT E D S T A T E S
Bureau of Labor
M arch, 1950
Statistics
compared with
M ar.,’ 50
F e b .,*50 M a r.,*49
(1 9 2 6 = 1 0 0 )
F e b .,*50
M ar.,*49
A ll Commodities.. 152.6
152.7
158.4
— 0 .1 %
— 3 .7 %
159.1
Farm Products... 159.4
171.3
+ 0.2
— 7.0
156.8
— 0.8
— 4.6
Foods ............... . 155.5
162.9
O t h e r ................. . 146.0
145.9
150.8
+ 0.1
— 3.2
CONSUM ER
Bureau of Labor
M ar. 15,
Statistics
1950
( 1 9 3 5 -3 9 = 1 0 0 )
United S ta te s ..... . 167.0
St. L ouis.......... . 167.4
M em phis ........ , 169.4

P R IC E

D ec. 15,
1949
167.5
167.8
170.8

Page 72




Feb. 15,
1950
194.8
202.9
194.5
183.1
2 02 .2

EM PLOYM ENT

The employment picture improved in the nation
and in the Eighth District in March. There was a
seasonal pick-up in agricultural activity and a lesser
gain in nonagricultural industries. Agricultural em­
ployment expanded at about the same rate as last
year. As usual, the additions consisted largely of
self-employed and unpaid family workers, most of
whom had been outside the labor force or in non­
agricultural industries during February.
Nationally, slightly more persons were working
in nonagricultural industries this March than last,
although the reverse was true for most of the dis­
trict cities. Total employment in the nation was
below last year’s level, however, because of a sig­
nificant reduction in agricultural workers during
the year. About 10 per cent fewer persons were
working on farms this March and there were almost
one-fourth fewer than in 1940.
Employment in the St. Louis area expanded
between February and March and at a somewhat
larger rate than that early last year. However, the
decline from year-ago levels, which began early in
1949, continued in March. Employment was up in
manufacturing and in nonmanufacturing industries.
There were major gains in manufacturing and con­
struction and minor gains in trade and service.
Employment in public utilities, mining, and finance
experienced little change.
The improvement in manufacturing employment
was general with no unusually large expansion in
any single industry. The food, fabricated metals, and
nonelectrical machinery industries had the most
significant growth in employment, with lesser gains
in the stone, clay and glass, transportation equip­
ment, and printing and publishing industries. There
were minor cutbacks in the textiles and apparel,
petroleum and coal, and leather industries.
W H O L E S A L IN G

IN D E X

M ar. 15,
1949
169.5
169.0
173.3

March 1 5 ,1 9 5 0
compared with
D ec. 1 5 /4 9 M ar. 1 5 /4 9
— 0 .3 %
— 0.2
— 0.8

— 1 .5%
— 1.0
— 2.3

R E T A IL F O O D
Bureau of Labor
M ar. 15,
Statistics
1950
(1 9 3 5 -3 9 = 1 0 0 )
U . S. (51 cities) .. 196.0
St. L o u i s .......... . 204.5
Little R ock..... . 194.5
Louisville .......... 184.2
M em phis ........ . 202.7

Joint estimates by the U. S. Department of Com­
merce and the Securities Exchange Commission in­
dicate that investment in new plant and equipment
totaled $4.1 billion in the first quarter, about 8 per
cent more than the earlier estimates by industry
executives.

M ar. 15,
1949
2 01 .6
207.6
198.0
187.7
211.9

M arch 15. 1950
compared with
Feb. 1 5 /5 0 M ar. 1 5 /4 9
+
+
+
+

0 .6 % 1
0.8
0 0.6
0.2

—
—
—
—
—

2 .8 %
1.5
1.8
1.9
4.4

L ine of Commodities
N e t Sales
D ata furnished by
M arch, 1950
Bureau of Census
compared with
U . S. D ept, of Commerce *
F e b ., 1950
M ar., 1949
Autom otive Supplies ........... ..
+19%
— 2%
+ 18
D rugs and Chemicals...........
+ 7
+ 14
D ry Goods ..........................
-0 +19
Groceries .................................... ..
— 1
+ 17
Hardware .................................
— 9
+11
Tobacco and its Products..,..
— 3
+25
Miscellaneous .......................... ..
+ 11
* * Total A ll Lines.............. ..
+18%
— 1%
* Preliminary.
** Includes certain items not listed above.

Stocks
M ar. 3 1 ,1 9 5 0
compared with
M ar. 3 1 ,1 9 4 9
—

9%

+ 13
+ 4
- 0 - 0 — 23
+ 2%

Employment in the Louisville area rose between
January and March to reach the highest level since
May, 1949. There were gains in almost all major
industries, particularly in nonelectrical machinery,
chemicals, construction, trade and service. Fewer
persons were employed in the tobacco manufactur­
ing industry and by government offices in March
than in January. Employers, especially in the con­
struction, prefabricated houses and nonelectrical
machinery industries, expect employment to con­
tinue to expand, at least through July.
Employment in the Little Rock area moved up­
ward between February and March due to gains in
manufacturing as well as nonmanufacturing in­
dustries. There was a moderate expansion in the
food, apparel, lumber, chemical, and electrical equip­
ment industries, while larger gains occurred in re­
tail trade and construction. Unlike other district
cities, March employment in Little Rock was
slightly larger than that last year. A gradual rise
is expected at least through July due to increased
activity in construction and trade.
Nationally, the largest drop in many months oc­
curred in unemployment in March, but there were
still substantially more persons looking for work
than there were a year ago. The decline from Feb­
ruary was about four times as large among men
as among women, but the unemployment rate (the
proportion of the labor force seeking work) for
women remained smaller than that for men. The
number of persons unemployed for long periods of
time continued to move upward as it has since early
1949. About one out of every ten persons unem­
ployed in March had been seeking work more than
26 weeks; last March the ratio was one out of 20.
In this district, as in the nation, there were fewer
continued claims for unemployment compensation
in March than in February or in March, 1949. The
5 per cent average decline for the seven district
states between February and March was about
the same as that for the nation. The reductions
varied in the individual states from less than 1 per
cent in Kentucky to 12 per cent in Arkansas. There
was a drop of 5 per cent in St. Louis and 19 per cent
in Little Rock. In Evansville, there was a rise of
almost 20 per cent. Relative to volume in March,
1949 the average decline of 11 per cent in the dis­
trict states was about the same as that in the nation.
In Illinois and Mississippi, however, there were
more claimants this March than last.
Another indication of an improvement in the
national employment picture was the slight increase
in the average work week for nonagricultural em­




ployees in March. About one out of every three
persons in these lines worked more than 40 hours
per week in March, with an average work week for
all of about 41.2 hours.
IN D U S T R Y

Industrial activity in the district in March ap­
parently was at a higher level than in February,
with the longer work month and settlement of the
coal strike accounting for most of the increase. Gains
occurred in some of the basic industries such as
coal, steel and construction. In the latter the sea­
sonal influence was strong. Crude oil output was
practically unchanged from a month earlier.
Electric power consumed by manufacturers in
the leading industrial areas in March was 6 per cent
higher than in February and 5 per cent above that
of a year ago. However, there were mixed trends
throughout the district. On a month-to-month com­
parison, St. Louis, Louisville and Evansville showed
increases of 13 per cent, 6 per cent and 5 per cent,
respectively, while Pine Bluff and Little Rock reg­
istered considerable decreases. Memphis consump­
tion was unchanged. On a daily average basis, the
picture was different with industry in all reporting
areas consuming less power than in February.
Manufacturing— Primarily because of a longer
work month, March manufacturing output in this
district was larger than in February. Increases oc­
curred in all lines except lumber and newspaper and
printing; output in both of these was equal to
February’s. The largest gains were indicated in
production of chemicals, primary and fabricated
metals, stone, clay and glass products, electrical
machinery and transportation equipment.
IN D U S T R Y
CONSUMPTION OF ELECTRICITY
M ar.,
1950
K .W .H .

F eb .,
1950
K .W . H .

M a r.,
1949
K .W . H .

Evansville...... 12,961
Little R ock...
4,767
Louisville___ 72,678
M em phis........ 27,711
Pine B luff___
4,327
St. Louis..... . 87,995
Total.......... 210,439

12,961
5,227
68,853
27,676
6,157
78,144
198,366

12,379
4,479
70,408
27,499
6,111
79,683
200,559

( K . W .H .
in th ou s.)

M arch, 1950
compared with
Feb., *50
M a r., ’ 49
+ 5%
— 9
+ 6
- 0 — 30
+13
+ 6%

— 15%

+ 6

+ 3
+ 1
— 29
+10
+ 5%

LOADS INTERCHANGED FOR 25 R AILROADS A T ST. LOUIS
First N ine D ays
M ar., *50
F eb., *50 M a r., *49
A p r ., ’ 50 A p r., *49 3 m os., *50 3 m os. *49
113,432
95,531
108,966
31,986
30,956
308,425
319,295
Source: Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis.

CRUDE O IL P R O D U C T IO N -D A IL Y AVERAGE
(I n thousands
o fb b ls .)
Arkansas........
Illinois................
Indiana...............
Kentucky...........
T otal...............

M ar.,
1950
80.6
179.6
27.2
25.6
313.0

'

Feb.,
1950
80.0
180.3
27.0
25.2
312.5

M ar.,
1949
81.6
173.9
2 2.9
22.9
301.3

M ar., 1950
compared with
F eb., 1950
M ar., 1949
+ 1 %
— 1%
- 0+ 3
+ 1
+19
+ 2
+12
- 0 -%
+ 4%

Page 73

Steel— The basic steel industry in the St. Louis
area increased operations to an average of 78 per
cent of capacity in March. This was about equal to
the January level, was 2 points higher than in Feb­
ruary, and 5 points above the year-ago level. Several
open hearth furnaces which had been shut down for
maintenance and repairs were put back into produc­
tion and at the end of the month the rate was at 85
per cent of capacity, the highest of the year. March
output of cold rolled sheets set a record for that
month and, since the coal shortage, pig iron output
in the area has been at capacity.
Lumber— The district’s basic lumber industry op­
erated at about the same level as in February, but
was somewhat higher than that of a year ago, de­
spite unfavorable weather in some areas adversely
affecting output. Demand was strong, particularly
for hardwoods, and is expected to remain so for
some time. Trade reports indicate that mill stocks
of lumber are generally lower than a year ago.
Nationally, the dollar value of new orders placed
by furniture manufacturers in February was 44 per
cent above that of the like period last year.
Reporting southern hardwood producers operated
at 79 per cent of capacity compared with 80 per
cent in February and 72 per cent a year ago. South­
ern pine production in March was 1 per cent higher
than in February but 9 per cent above the March,
1949 level.
Whiskey—At the close of March, 40 of Kentucky’s
61 distilleries were in operation. This was eight
more than were in production a month earlier and
one more than a year ago. Output in February
totaled 5.9 million tax gallons, about 3 per cent less
than in January and 23 per cent less than in Feb­
ruary, 1949. Nationally, production was 9 per cent
less than in January and 29 per cent below that
in February, 1949.
Shoes— W ith the peak of production of spring
lines past, February shoe output was slightly lower
than in January. According to preliminary esti­
mates, production in the district totaled 7.6 million
pairs as compared with 7.9 million pairs in the
previous month. The total was slightly higher than
a year ago when output reached 7.4 million. Na­
tionally, February output was not much changed
from January and was about 13 per cent above the
February, 1949 total.
Meat Packing— March meat packing operations
in the St. Louis area increased seasonally over
February and were higher than a year ago. A c­
cording to Federal inspection records, there were
452,000 animals slaughtered in March, a third more
than in February. H og killings were up 40 per cent;
Page 74




slaughter of calves and cattle up 38 per cent and 12
per cent, respectively. The nation as a whole showed
only an 18 per cent increase over February, but
the February total had not fallen off as much as it
had in this area. Slaughter in both the district and
nation was off about 8 per cent from last year.
Crude Oil—There was little change in the pro­
duction of crude oil in the district in March but out­
put was higher than a year ago. Daily production
averaged 313,000 barrels as compared with 312,500
barrels in February and 301,300 barrels in March,
1949. Slight month-to-month gains were registered
in Kentucky, Arkansas, and Indiana, but in Illinois,
the largest producing state, production remained un­
changed. Gains over last year were shown in all
reporting states except Arkansas where output de­
creased slightly. United States output continued
to fare worse than in the district, declining 2 per
cent from February and 7 per cent from a year ago.
Coal—W ith the settlement of the coal strike,
district coal production rebounded to the highest
level since February, 1948. Production totaled 10.5
million tons, more than three times the February
output and 43 per cent larger than in March, 1949.
The largest increases over February were registered
in Indiana and Illinois, the states in which output
was cut back most during the strike. However, all
areas showed substantial increases. On a year-toyear basis, decreases of 12 per cent and 24 per cent
in Arkansas and Missouri, respectively, were offset
by substantial increases in output in western Ken­
tucky, Illinois and Indiana.
Construction— The c o n s tr u c tio n in d u s try in
March moved forward both in terms of on-site ac­
tivity and the backlog of contracts. According to
F. W . Dodge Corporation reports, March awards
totaled $73.2 million or 67 per cent larger than the
$43.9 million value awarded in March, 1949. There
were substantial increases both in residential and
nonresidential awards; the latter showed larger
gains, however, due principally to increases in pub­
lic works and utility construction. Residential
P R O D U C T IO N IN D E X E S
COAL PRODUCTION IN D E X
1 9 3 5 -3 9 = 1 0 0
Unadjusted
M ar. *50 Feb. ’ 50 M ar. ’ 49
M ar. ’ 50
157*
57*
110
165*

Adjusted
Feb. ’ 50 M ar. ’ 49
50*
116

SHOE PRODUCTION IN D E X
1 9 3 5 -3 9 = 1 0 0
__________ Unadjusted
Feb. *50 Jan. ’ 50 F e b 7 4 9
Feb. ’ 50
144
152
149
136
•Preliminary.

Adjusted
Jan. ’ 50 Feb. ’ 49
149
141

CONSTRUCTION

(C o st in
thousands)

St. Louis..

B U IL D IN G P E R M IT S
M onth of M arch
____ N ew Construction__________ _________ Repairs, etc.
Num ber
C ost
Cost
Number
1949
1949
1950 1949
1950
1950
1949
1950
100 $ 71 $ 73
93
$
403 $ 522
40
135
188
76
615
221 186
870
73
109
424
72
71
264
85
754
52
145
220
105
4,512
3,001
189 217
1,083
1,799
598
1,863
258 266
624
4,985
227
455
846 841 $1,174 $1,276
2,643
1,475 $11,524 $6,265
581 563 $ 907 $1,290
893 $ 6,977 $4,473
2,311

awards in March totaled $26.0 million and non­
residential, $47.2 million.
In the St. Louis territory, public works and util­
ities showed the largest gains, totaling $20.5 million
— three times the February total and more than
double that of March, 1949. Other nonresidential
totaled $22.1 million; a gain of 143 per cent over
February and 74 per cent higher than a year ago.
This increase reflected rises in commercial and
educational building. The gain in residential awards
in the main was due to increased contracts for
apartment and one-family owner-built dwellings.
In the first quarter of 1950, the dollar value of
residential awards in the St. Louis territory was
more than one and one-half times larger than a
year ago. In this category the largest gain, both
relative and absolute, was in contracts for apart­
ment dwellings. Public works and utilities increased
31 per cent and other nonresidential contracts
showed a 20 per cent gain. Hospital and institu­
tional building fell to about half of what it was in
the first quarter of 1949.
AGRICULTURE
W ith tighter controls on agriculture in 1950, crop
acreage in the nation and district will be smaller
than in 1949. Major cuts are in wheat and
cotton, ■but corn acreage also will be smaller.
Acreage of soybeans, hay and oats will be larger
than in 1949 with a considerable amount of district
land taken out of cotton going into these crops. In
the southern portions of the district, corn acreage
also will be larger as a result of the shift from
cotton.
Prospective corn acreage in Eighth District states
in 1950 is 6 per cent less than in 1949—a decline of
equal percentage is indicated for the United States.
If these intentions are realized, the national corn
acreage will be the smallest in 50 years, and with a
yield equal to the 1944-48 acreage the 1950 crop will
be 2.8 billion bushels as compared with 1949’s 3.4
billion bushels. Acreage reductions are attributed
primarily to the allotment program in the so-called
commercial corn producing areas. Farmers in dis­
trict states in the commercial corn producing area
intend to plant 12 per cent less corn in Illinois, 10
cent less in Indiana, and 6 per cent less in Ken­




tucky and Missouri. On the other hand, corn
acreages in Mississippi and Arkansas are expected
to be up 8 and 15 per cent, respectively, compared
with 1949. This will reflect the shifting of large
acreages from cotton, for which marketing quotas
will be in effect.
Soybean acreage in Mississippi and Arkansas is
expected to be 35 and 80 per cent larger, respectively,
than in 1949, reflecting again the shift from cotton
to other row crops. Although the increase in soy­
bean acreage nationally is expected to be 18 per
cent, the above two are the only district states in
which soybean acreage growth is expected to exceed
the national average. Increases in Indiana, Illinois
and Missouri are expected to be 10, 13 and 15 per
cent, respectively.
Oats acreage nationally on March 1 was expected
to exceed 1949 by 8 per cent, but only a 1 per cent
increase was anticipated in the district states. Even
then, inclement weather during March may have
prevented this increase from being realized.
Cotton acreage figures for 1950 will not be avail­
able before July 1. However, recent legislation ap­
proved increasing the national cotton acreage quota
by a million acres. This will increase allotments o f
many farmers in the Delta and particularly in the
boot heel of Missouri. Farmers are expected to plant
up to the maximum under the new quota.
The condition of the winter wheat crop has de­
teriorated appreciably since the December 1 fore­
cast. Estimated production in Eighth District states
as of April 1 was 36 per cent less than the 1949
crop. In Illinois the reduction is placed at 51 per
cent and in Missouri at 37 per cent. Nationally, the
crop is estimated at 764 million bushels compared
with 902 million in 1949, a decrease of 15 per cent.
Combined winter and spring wheat acreage is ex­
pected to be 73 million acres, 15 per cent less than
the 1949 acreage, and slightly less than the acreage
allotments for 1950.
AGRICULTURE
R E C E IP T S A N D

S H IP M E N T S A T
Receipts

N A T IO N A L ST O C K Y A R D S
Shipments
M a r., 1950
M ar., 1950
M ar.,
compared with
M ar.,
compared with
Feb., '5 0 M a r., *4?
1950
F e b ., *50 M a r., *49
1950
29,972
Cattle and calves.
88,517
+ 10 %
— 7%
+ 16% — 15%
+24
78,345
—
1
+ 2 6
+ 16
+ 78
+47
18,461
+ 367
+515
Totals.......... ...... 425,907
+23%
+ 14%
126,778
+ 17% + 26%
C A SH F A R M IN C O M E
1950
2 month total Jan. to Feb.
compared with
1950
F e b .,
Jan.,
F eb .,
compared with
( I n thousands
1950
1950
1949
1950
1949
1948
of dollars)
Arkansas......... ...$ 22,338
— 22 %
— 37%
— 26%
$ 45,951
— 5%
... 122,476
— 19
+24
273,576
+ 20
— 5
— 13
+ 4
— 12
Indiana............ ... 59,065
+ 5
127,027
K entucky........ ...
21,152
— 81
— 31
+ 6
+20
133,870
11,452
— 35
— 70
29,129
— 73
— 50
Mississippi...... ...
— 16
— 7
Missouri..........
— 8
— 14
129,001
— 50
69,602
— 6
— 12
— 18
Tennessee....... ... 23,080
Totals..........
’$808,156
— 7%
— 10%
— 35%
— 7%

Page 75

B A N K IN G
P R IN C IP A L A S S E T S A N D
FED ER AL R ESERVE BAN K

L IA B IL IT IE S
O F ST. L O U IS
Change from
M ar. 22,
A pr. 19,
A pr. 20,
1949
1950
1950
$
$
$
79 —
3,608
7,667
960,376 — 8,986 — 190,073
9,065 $— 197,740
963,984 $

( I n thousands of dollars)
Industrial advances under Sec. 1
O ther advances and rediscounts..

..........

—

.$

2,796
739,407 $— 13,771 $ +
633,991
20,552 — 159,205
2,588 — 36,171
,054,614

Industrial commitments under Sec. 13b....$.................. $ ................ $ .........
P R IN C IP A L A S S E T S A N D L IA B IL IT IE S
W E E K L Y R E P O R T IN G M E M B E R B A N K S
E I G H T H F E D E R A L R E S E R V E D IS T R IC T
(In thousands of dollars)
34 banks reporting.
Change from
Apr. 19,
Mar. 22,
Apr. 20,
1949
ASSETS
1950
1950
Gross commercial, industrial, and agricultural loans and open market paper.........$ 507,234 $- -19 ,1 9 7 $—- 40,056
Gross loans to brokers and dealers in
securities ...............................................................
6,685 —
191
+
1,221
Gross loans to others to purchase and
carry securities ..................................................
473 —
741
20,820
+
928
Gross real estate loans.........................................
197,483
+ 36,587
Gross loans to banks...........................................
14,090
9,527
+ 12,840
Gross other loans (largely consumer credit
loans) ......................................................................
222,240
+ 3,320
+ 12,277
Total ......................................................................$ 968,552 $— 6,996 $ + 22,128
Less reserve for losses.......................... .
12,167
+
88
+
2,411
N e t total loans.................................................. $ 956,385 $— 7,084 $ + 19,717
Treasury bills .........................................................
Certificates of indebtedness...............................
Treasury notes .......................................................
U . S. bonds and guaranteed obligations....
Other securities .....................................................

51,994
166,699
212,375
655,616
185,661

19,762
15,501
4,354
4,208

+

Cash assets ..............................................................
Other assets ................................................. ..........

714,292
25,534

+ 1 1 ,4 2 2
+
282

—
+

+
—
—
+
+
Total investments ........................................... $1,272,345 $ +

T otal assets

23,879
5,327
+ 166,517
— 60,915
3,297 + 50,875
7,412 $ + 175,029
57,875
1,762

....................................................... $2,968,556 $ + 12,032 $ + 138,633

L IA B IL IT IE S
Demand deposits of individuals, partner­
ships, and corporations................................. $1,494,501
Interbank deposits ................................................
588,654
U . S. Government deposits...............................
63,358
O ther deposits ......................................................
117,111

$+
—
—
—

34,047 $ +
22,189
+
8,203
+
2,938 —

65,028
45,792
11,712
7,430

Total demand deposits....................................$2,263,624 $ +
717 $ + 115,102
Tim e deposits ..........................................................
494,039
+ 4,902
+ 12,130
Borrowings ..............................................................
6,125
+ 3,975 —
350
Other liabilities .....................................................
20,156
+ 1,444
+
3,868
184,612
+
994
+
7,883
Total capital accounts.......................................
Total liabilities and capital accounts....$2,968,556 $ + 12,032 $ + 138,633
Dem and deposits, adjusted * ............................ $1,394,911 $ + 13,778 $ +
* O ther than interbank and government
items on hand or in process of collection.

demand deposits,

42,636

less cash

D E B IT S T O D E P O S IT A C C O U N T S
M ar.,
Feb.,
M ar.,
1950
1950
1949
-$
24,138 $
19,419 $
23,398
Fort Smith, A rk .............
37,045
33,343
39,320
H elena, A rk .....................
6,846
5,840
7,982
Little Rock, A r k ............ 130,442
112,130
132,089
Pine B luff, A r k ...............
26,357
22,540
28,643
Texarkana, A r k .* ..........
11,835
8,980
11,142
25,706
20,304
A lton , 111...........................
24,445
106,611
E .S t .L .-N a t .S .Y ., 111...,
89,488
114,259
25,934
Quincy, 111........................
29,587
29,784
122,427
104,892
Evansville, In d ...............
108,467
Louisville, K y ................. .
555,245
461,755
507,028
32,572
Owensboro, K y ...............
32,592
31,012
Paducah, K y ....................
14,516
12,866
14,724
Greenville, M iss.............
18,747
18,975
22,692
Cape Girardeau, M o ....
11,137
9,805
10,981
8,726
7,456
H annibal, M o .................
7,874
39,071
Jefferson City, M o ........
42,097
36,562
St. Louis, M o ................. . 1,601,226
1,318,815
1,549,525
Sedalia, M o ......................
9,833
9,112
9,614
56,233
Springfield, M o .............
46,310
53,983
Jackson, T enn.................
18,473
16,078
18,310
M em phis, Tenn.............. .
570,609
495,882
529,653
Totals............................. .$3,4 5 7 ,3 8 2 $2,914,613 $3,311,487
* These figures are for Texarkana, Arkansas only.
banks in Texarkana, T exas-A rk ansas, including banks
D istrict, amounted to $27,332.
( I n thousands
of dollars)

Page 76




M ar. , 1950
compared with
F e b .,’ 50 M ar.,’ 49
+ 24% + 3%
— 6
+ 11
+ 17
— 14
+ 16
— 1
+ 17
— 8
+ 32
+ 6
+ 27
+ 5
+ 19
— 7
+ 14
— 1
+ 17
+ 13
+ 20
+ 10
- 0 + 5
+ 13
— 2
— 1
— 17
+ 14
+ 1
+ 17
+ 11
— 7
+ 7
+ 21
+ 3
+ 8
+ 2
+ 21
+ 4
+ 15
+ 1
+ 8
+ 15
+ 19% + 4%
Total debits for
in the Eleventh

The condition of member banks in this district
at mid-April, 1950 reflects the continued increase
in over-all business activity in the district. Total
loan volume declined moderately during 1950 to
mid-April but the drop was less than in the cor­
responding period in 1949.
B A N K IN G

Loans— Reports from all district member banks,
available through March, 1950, show that total loan
volume at the end of the first quarter was slightly
above that of March, 1949 (about $11 million or 1
per cent). In the first three months of 1950, city
banks reduced their loans less and the smaller rural
banks increased their loans somewhat more than
in the first quarter of 1949. The loan decline at city
banks so far this year has been just about half as
large as in the like period in 1949 when business
activity was dropping. Growth in country bank loans
has been about $2 million larger than occurred in
the first quarter of 1949. In fact, the March, 1950
loan total for country member banks, $523 million,
represents a new postwar high for those banks.
Real estate loans constitute the principal class
of loans supporting the expansion in total loans. At
the large city banks (which classify loans on their
weekly reports), real estate loans increased 23 per
cent in the year ending mid-April, 1950, in contrast
to a 10 per cent gain for all weekly reporting banks
in the United States. As a proportion of all loans,
real estate loans at district banks rose from 17 per
cent last April to 20 per cent in April, 1950. The in­
crease in the ratio of real estate loans to total earning
assets was from 7.9 per cent to 8.8 per cent, with
total earning assets rising $192 million in the period.
Outlying city banks showed a relatively ‘ larger
ratio gain (16.7 per cent to 17.6 per cent) than
the big city banks (5.6 per cent to 5.7 per cent).
Measurement of the real estate loan expansion
in the year ending mid-April, 1950 at each of the
weekly reporting member banks showed that most
of the banks apparently were attempting to increase
their real estate loans to offset some shrinkage in
other types of loans. The tendency to add moder­
ately to real estate loans relative to total earning
assets was fairly widespread.
Deposits— Demand deposits, other than inter­
bank, at all district member banks declined season­
ally in the first quarter of 1950 but remained some
2 per cent over their 1949 level. Time deposits ex­
panded $19 million in the first quarter in contrast
with a gain of $14 million in the corresponding
period a year ago and were approximately 2 per
cent over their level at the close of March, 1949.