Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region contracted at a less pronounced rate this month, after deteriorating in July, according to the Richmond Fed’s latest seasonally adjusted survey. Looking at the main components of activity, shipments edged higher, employment turned negative, and the weakness in new orders moderated somewhat. Evidence of diminished weakness was also reflected in most other indicators. District contacts reported that backlogs, capacity utilization, and delivery times remained negative but improved from July readings. Moreover, finished goods inventories grew at a slightly slower pace, while growth in raw materials was nearly unchanged. — Businessweek
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Contraction was less pronounced, but leading indicators point to more weakness next month.