Factory activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region contracted for the second straight month in September, but the shrinkage was at a slower rate, a survey showed Thursday.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index came in at minus 0.7 in September from minus 7.7 in August.
Economists had expected a reading of 2.0, based on the median of forecasts in a Reuters poll which ranged from minus 7.7 to 8.0.
Any reading above zero indicates expansion in the region's manufacturing.
The survey covers factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
It is seen as one of the first monthly indicators of the health of U.S. manufacturing leading up to the national report by the Institute for Supply Management, which is due next on Oct. 1.
The Philadelphia Fed report follows a similar release Wednesday showing manufacturing growth in New York State slowed in September.
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