Manufacturing activity in the Federal Reserve's Fifth District unexpectedly turned positive in October, bouncing back from a contraction in the prior month, as shipments, new orders, and employment all expanded.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's composite manufacturing index rose to a seasonally adjusted reading of 8 in October from negative 9 in September.
The consensus estimate of economists polled by Econoday was for the index to remain unchanged at negative 9.
The index for shipments climbed to positive 4 from negative 14, and the index for new orders rose to 7 from negative 14.
The index for the number of employees jumped to positive 13 from positive 3, while the index for wages fell to positive 15 from positive 24.
Companies noted improving local business conditions, as the corresponding index rose to positive 4 from negative 15.
"Respondents were optimistic that conditions would continue to improve in the next six months," the Richmond Fed said.
The Fed's Fifth District covers the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and most of West Virginia.