Data File: Service Sector Softens

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's latest survey of the region's service and manufacturing industries, released Wednesday, shows that the service sector is taking it on the chin a bit this month, as retail sales decline and service providers report their first drop in revenues since August of 2004.

"Consistent with gauges of weaker activity, retailers continued to cut jobs and the pace of hiring flattened at services-providing firms," the Richmond Fed said in its report. "However, average wages in the service sector again grew at a brisk pace in September."

The Richmond Fed surveys companies in Maryland, Virginia, the District, North Carolina, South Carolina and most of West Virginia.

Manufacturing activity expanded at a solid pace in September, the survey found, as shipments and new orders rose. Companies participating in the survey said they now expect both raw materials and finished good prices to grow at slightly faster rates over the next six months than they thought last month.

The Richmond Fed found that folks in the services industry were more upbeat about their prospects for the next six months than they were a month ago; manufacturers also seemed mostly confident, although "somewhat less so than last month."

By Dan Beyers  |  September 26, 2007; 2:09 PM ET
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