Tags: Philly | Fed | Factory | Activity

Philly Fed Factory Activity Expands After 2-Month Lull

Thursday, 21 Mar 2013 11:34 AM

Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region grew in March after contracting for two months in a row, though the pace of expansion was still modest, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index rose to 2 from minus 12.5 in February, topping economists' expectations for minus 2.

Any reading above zero indicates expansion in the region's manufacturing. The survey covers factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. Prior to March's gain, the index had contracted in three of the past four months.

New orders rose to 0.5 from minus 7.8, while inventories rose to zero from minus 10. The gauge of the number of employees gained to 2.7 from 0.9, but the average employee workweek dropped to minus 12.9 from minus 1.6.

The survey 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. Markets saw little reaction immediately after the data, however.

Survey respondents' view on the coming months perked up slightly with the gauge of business conditions for the next six months rising to 32.5 from 32.1.

Separate data earlier on Thursday suggested the sector will contribute to stronger overall economic growth this quarter as manufacturing growth quickened in March.

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Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region grew in March after contracting for two months in a row, though the pace of expansion was still modest, a survey showed on Thursday.
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2013-34-21
Thursday, 21 Mar 2013 11:34 AM
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