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Manufacturing Survey Reports Activity Still Weak

For release: May 15, 2003
Contact: Kathy Woodbury, (215) 574-4119

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia today released its Business Outlook Survey for May. Activity in the region’s manufacturing sector was weak again this month. Most of the indexes remained negative but improved from last month’s readings. Survey participants were asked if they had experienced improvements in shipments or new orders associated with the ending of the war in Iraq.

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

"Our region's manufacturers reported a decline in activity again this month, although many indicators suggest that the pace of decline has diminished. Although the indexes for shipments and new orders are still negative, about 17 percent of firms indicated some improvement associated with the end of the war. Firms also reported that input price pressures subsided this month. Firms continued to report declines in employment. Six-month expectations remain generally optimistic, with more than half the manufacturing firms continuing to expect increased activity over the next six months."

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 adviser, at (215) 574-4119. The next Business Outlook Survey will be released June 19, 2003, 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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