Manufacturing Expansion Slows in Philly Fed Region

April 19, 2012
Employment index up, reaches highest level in 11 months.

Manufacturing activity continued to expand in April in the Philadelphia region, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve reported today, though the bank's broad index of manufacturing activity edged down from 12.5 in March to 8.5. Any reading above zero indicates expansion.

Indicators for new orders and shipments remained positive, the Business Outlook Survey reported, but fell slightly from their readings last month. The index for current unfilled orders increased 14 points, suggesting a backlog of unfilled orders.

The indicator for current employment showed notable improvement, rising from 6.8 to 17.9. Some 27% of firms said they had increased employment, while only 9% reduced their workforce. The broad indicators of future activity remained at relatively high readings, and 35% of firms reported they expected to add hires over the next six months.

Prices for what manufacturers were paying for goods and services and what they were charging for their products both edged up slightly.

The Philadelphia report, which covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware, was considerably more positive than the report for the New York region issued April 16. That report showed business activity slide from 20.2 in March to 6.6 and also showed more upward pricing pressure for purchases made by manufacturers.

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