Philadelphia Fed Sees Continued Weak Activity in Manufacturing
Each month, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve conducts a survey of regional business activity. In June, their current activity index (a broad measure of manufacturing conditions) hit a dreadful - 7.7 reading. Yes, that's a "negative 7.7" reading.
This morning's latest survey shows business rebounding slightly into positive figures, but at a very low index of + 3.2.
The slight rebound shows firms treading water and attempting to find new business. According to the survey:
Firms were asked about recent trends in demand for their manufactured goods and to characterize the reasons for slowing.
Slightly more than half of the firms indicated that demand had increased recently, while 26 percent indicated that demand had slowed.
Of those firms that experienced some slowing, the most frequently cited reasons were increased uncertainty (82.4 percent) and higher prices for energy, commodities, and transportation (44.1 percent). Other reasons included seasonal factors (35.3 percent), and the ending of fiscal stimulus spending (11.8 percent).
Overall, the survey paints a mixed picture. In a summary, it suggests the region's manufacturing sector "remained weak in July," with "flat demand for manufactured goods...while shipments and employment grew only slightly."
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