Richmond Fed Crashes Into Contraction From 6 Year Highs, Biggest Drop In History

Having spiked mysteriously to 6 year highs in March (from 4 year lows in Feb), Richmond Fed's manufacturing survey crashed back into contraction in May (printing -1 against =14 prior and +8 expectations).

 

Weakness was broad-based across the entire set of subcomponents with New Orders plunging, shipments crashing, employees and workweek tumbling, and worse still future employment and capex expectations dropped precipitously.  

The drop in the last 2 months is the largest in the 23 year history of the survey.

 

So WTF was that spike in March?

 

Charts: Bloomberg