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Manufacturers Report Continued Expansion

For release: Thursday, May 18, 2006, at noon
Contact: Katherine Dibling at (215) 574-4119

Philadelphia, Pa. - The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia today released May’s Business Outlook Survey. Business activity increased slightly in May, according to the firms participating in the survey. However, indicators for new orders, shipments, and employment were down from their readings in April. The prices paid index rose sharply. In the special questions, participants were asked about the impact of price increases for raw materials and energy on prices for their finished products.

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

“Respondents to our Business Outlook Survey reported that growth in the region’s manufacturing sector is continuing. The overall general activity index increased modestly this month, but indicators for new orders, shipments, and employment, although still positive, were lower than last month. The percentage of firms reporting higher prices for inputs was up sharply in May, but the percentage of firms reporting higher prices for finished goods was lower than in April. The region's manufacturing executives expect growth to continue, but they were less optimistic about future activity and employment growth than they were last month.”

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 Katherine Dibling, the Bank's assistant media advisor, at (215)574-4119.

The next Business Outlook Survey will be released at noon Thursday, June 15, 2006, and will be made available on our website and over PR Newswire. The aggregate historical data series is also available on the Bank's website.

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