By Xavier Fontdegloria


Manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area accelerated its expansion pace in January compared with the previous month, data from a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed Thursday.

The index for current general activity stood at 26.5 in January, up from a revised 9.1 reading in December. The indicator compares with economists' forecasts in a The Wall Street Journal poll, which expected it to come in at 10.5.

The survey polls manufacturers in the Third Federal Reserve District--which covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware--about the direction of change in overall business activity and in various other measures at their plants on a monthly basis.

The index signals that overall manufacturing activity in the region expanded in January for the eighth consecutive month, after a strong rebound in June driven by the reopening of businesses that slowed over the following months.

"Manufacturing activity in the region continued to grow," the Philly Fed said.

In January, 40% firms reported increases in activity, while 13% reported decreases.

The survey's current indicators for general activity, new orders, and shipments increased notably this month, the report said.

The index for new orders increased 28 points to 30.0, its highest reading in three months, while the current shipments index rose 11 points to 22.7 in January.

More firms reported increases in manufacturing employment in January. The current employment index, which has remained positive for seven consecutive months, increased 17 points to 22.5.

The prices paid index increased 21 points to 45.4 and the prices received index also climbed 21 points to 36.6.

The survey's indicators for future general activity improved this month, and although other future indicators declined somewhat, they remained at elevated readings, the report said.

The diffusion index for general activity over the next six months increased 10 points to 52.8 in January. The future new orders index held steady at 47.5, and both the future shipments and employment indexes declined slightly compared with December.


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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 21, 2021 09:09 ET (14:09 GMT)

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