Business Activity Held Constant Again
Tenth District services activity held constant again in October, and expectations for the next six months picked up (Chart 1 & Table 1). Increases in input and selling prices cooled this month, but input prices continue to rise at a faster pace. Heading forward, firms expect input price increases to cool slightly and selling prices to rise even further.
The month-over-month services composite index was -1 in October, down slightly from 2 in September and unchanged from August (Tables 1 & 2). The composite index is a weighted average of the revenue/sales, employment, and inventory indexes. Revenues in transportation, real estate, and tourism increased this month, while they declined in wholesale and retail trade, autos, and healthcare. All month-over-month indexes declined slightly from previous readings, except the employment index which increased from -3 to 5. General revenue/sales decreased after slight growth last month, and inventories turned negative for the first time since April. The year-over-year composite index increased to 9 from 4 due to increases in revenue from this time last year. Expectations for services activity also rose to 7 from 3 as firms are more optimistic about revenues for the next six months.
|Date||Vs. a Month Ago||Vs. a Year Ago|
This month contacts were asked special questions about their employees. 21% of firms expect the loss of the federal childcare subsidy to reduce their ability to hire or retain workers, while 79% do not expect any difference (Chart 2). Firms were also asked if they have been devoting more resources to training workers that do not meet skills requirements. 15% reported devoting significantly more resources, 49% have devoted slightly more, and 36% have seen no change (Chart 3).
Selected Services Comments
“As a small business staffing company, we have dramatically slowed down. Many of our clients are requesting less staffing.”
“Nobody can hire enough workers.”
“The high interest rates, inflation, and the cost of gas are having a very negative effect on our sales.”
“Demand is slowing, and interest is driving costs higher.”
“We are finally seeing the slowdown in the real estate market. Builders have been either offering incentives, reducing prices, or both.”
“Increased wages have made it necessary to raise prices.”