Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region expanded at a slower pace in April as orders and sales cooled, showing the industry that led the U.S. out of the recession is decelerating.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index decreased to 8.5 this month from 12.5 in March. Economists forecast the gauge would dip to 12, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Readings greater than zero signal expansion in the area covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
Slower economies in Europe and China may restrain exports and limit bookings to American factories, which have been the mainstay of the expansion. At the same time, a pickup in motor vehicle sales in the first quarter remains a source of strength.
“The slowdown in manufacturing is something to watch, but given how fast production had been growing, a pause that refreshes is not a surprise,” Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors Inc. in Holland, Pennsylvania, said before the report. “The economy is growing moderately and should continue to do so. But there are still a number of hurdles and risks that are keeping the recovery from really kicking into high gear.”
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey for the Philadelphia Fed index from the 58 economists ranged from 5 to 15.
Other reports today showed more Americans than forecast filed claims for jobless benefits last week, the index of leading economic indicators rose in March for a sixth consecutive month, and sales of existing homes dropped.
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