Factory Growth Slows Slightly In Philly Area

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A survey showed manufacturing growth in the Philadelphia region slowed only slightly this month, suggesting the 16-day partial government shutdown had less impact on U.S. factories than many had feared.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said Thursday that its index of regional manufacturing activity declined to 19.8 in October, down from a September reading of 22.3.

Any reading above zero indicates expansion. Despite the decline, manufacturing in the region has grown for five straight months. And measures of hiring and new orders both rose in October, signs that activity should pick up in the coming months.

"This is a fairly strong result, especially given the turmoil in Washington," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

The Philly Fed survey gauges manufacturing activity in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.

The Philadelphia Fed report followed a report Tuesday that factory growth in the New York region declined this month, according to the New York Fed's Empire State manufacturing index. The drop in activity in the New York region was also blamed in part on the shutdown.

The government reopened on Thursday. Federal workers are reporting back to work now that Congress passed a temporary spending bill and lifted the government's borrowing limit.

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