NEW YORK (AP) -- Manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region climbed back into positive territory this month, reaching its highest level since the recession began in late 2007, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said Thursday.
The bank's broadest measure of monthly manufacturing activity in the region jumped to 4.2 from a negative 7.5 in July.
"Indexes for general activity, new orders, and shipments all registered slightly positive readings this month," the bank said.
"Although firms reported continued declines in employment and work hours this month, losses were not as widespread. Most of the survey's broad indicators of future activity continued to suggest that the region's manufacturing executives expect business activity to increase over the next six months."
Analysts responded cautiously to the evidence of a rebound.
"The signs of a turnaround in manufacturing are encouraging, but we wonder how much of that is re-stocking," Paul Ashworthfour, senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics Ltd.
Boenning & Scattergood analyst William Sutherland said, "The labor market continues to be weak and demand for manufactured goods remains murky."
The report, which echoed a similar one for the New York region that was released earlier this week, helped lift the broader stock market.
The Dow Jones industrials rose 50.10, or 0.54 percent, to 9,329.34. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9.05, or 0.91 percent, to 1,005.51, while the Nasdaq composite index gained 14.76, or 0.74 percent, to 1,983.78.