No News Is Good News? Philly Manufacturing Activity Unchanged

According to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve, the general activity index in the region for April was near zero.

For the Philadelphia area, manufacturing activity for April is steady, but optimistic. Most indexes remained near their March levels, while the six month forecast is at the highest level since April 2006.

The general activity index was near zero and new orders, shipments and employment were slightly positive this month, which indicates little change from the previous month, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s monthly Business Outlook Survey.

For April, the new orders index was 2.8, one point higher than March. Shipments dropped three points to 4.3 this month.

Delivery times and unfilled orders were negative, signaling shorter delivery times and fewer unfilled orders.

Employment was steady this month, with 63 percent of respondents indicating steady employment levels.

Prices paid continued its three month trend and increased again this month, moving up 3 points. Prices received dropped 11 points to 5.2, its lowest level since August 2005.

Over the next six months, the manufacturing growth outlook improved, with the future general activity index reaching its highest level since April 2006, increasing from 17.4 to 25.8.

Future new orders and shipments were similar to their March readings. Despite a three point increase in the future employment index, only 27 percent of respondents expect employment increases, with 15 percent expecting decreases.

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