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Indicators Suggest Second Month of Increase

For release: February 21, 2002
Contact: Kathy Woodbury, (215) 574-4119

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia today released its Business Outlook Survey for February. For the second month, responses from manufacturing firms indicate an increase in activity. However, employment is still reported to be in decline. In this month's special question, participants were asked to estimate how much they expect the cost of employee health benefits to increase this year.

Philadelphia Federal Reserve Senior Economic Analyst Mike Trebing summarized the survey:

"For the second consecutive month current indicators show improvement in the region's manufacturing sector. Survey responses suggest increases in overall activity, new orders, and shipments, although employment is still reported to be in decline. Optimism about growth in the manufacturing sector over the next six months remains high."

This survey, which was started in 1968, gathers information on the manufacturing industry in the Third Federal Reserve District covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. Participation in the survey is limited to manufacturing firms with plants in the area with more than 100 employees. The survey asks about the current pace of business in the participants' plants and their future expectations of business.

To arrange an interview, please contact Kathy Woodbury, the Bank's assistant media representative, at (215) 574-4119. The next Business Outlook Survey will be released March 21, 2002, at noon and will be made available on this web site and over PR Newswire. The aggregate historical data series is also available at http://www.philadelphiafed.org/econ/bos/boshistory.html.

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