By Maria Martinez


Business activity among manufacturers in the Philadelphia area expanded in August after two consecutive negative readings, but demand continues to be weak, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed Thursday.

The index for current general activity of the Business Outlook Survey rose to 6.2 in August from minus 12.3 in July. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected the indicator to come in at minus 5.0.

Although the general activity index turned positive, it was low, and the new orders index remained negative, the Philly Fed said.

The Philadelphia Fed survey polls manufacturing firms in the Third Federal Reserve District--which covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware--every month about the direction of change in business activity.

The majority of firms surveyed, or 47%, reported no change in current activity this month, while 26% of firms reported increases in activity and 20% said business activity decreased.

Demand remained weak, with the new orders index rising to minus 5.1 from minus 24.8 the previous month, but still in negative territory for the third consecutive month. The shipments index rose to 24.8 in August from 14.8 in July.

The employment index rose to 24.1 from 19.4, suggesting firms in the area continued to add workers.

The delivery times index rose to 2.7 from minus 10.2 the previous month and the unfilled orders index rose to minus 1.8 from minus 10.4 in July.

Inflation pressures eased for a fourth consecutive month. The prices paid index decreased to 43.6 in August from 52.2 in July, and the prices received index fell to 23.3 from 30.3.

Firms in the region remained pessimistic about their outlook for the next six months, the report said. The index for future general activity rose to minus 10.6 from minus 18.6, but in negative territory it continues to suggest that firms expect overall declines six months from now.


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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 18, 2022 09:17 ET (13:17 GMT)

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