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Manufacturers See Weakening in Activity

For release: 10 a.m., January 17, 2008
Contact: Katherine Q. Dibling, assistant media advisor, (215) 574-4119

Philadelphia, Pa. -  The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia today released January ’s Business Outlook Survey. Activity in the region's manufacturing sector weakened this month, according to the survey's participants. The general activity and new orders indexes fell sharply and indexes for shipments and employment also turned negative. In the special questions, the firms were asked to appraise current demand for their products relative to expectations.

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

“Indicators from our Business Outlook Survey suggest that conditions in the region’s manufacturing sector have weakened this month.  Weakness is evidenced this month by negative readings of the indexes for activity, new orders, shipments, employment, and average hours worked.  A significant share of firms reported higher prices for inputs and for their own manufactured goods, and the indexes for prices paid and prices received increased significantly this month. The region’s manufacturing executives were less optimistic about future activity, and most future indicators have now fallen considerably over the past three months, suggesting that a slow rate of growth is expected during the first half of 2008.”

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, contact Katherine Q. Dibling, the Bank's assistant media advisor, at (215) 574-4119. The annual data revisions were released on Thursday, January 10. The next survey will be released at 10 a.m., February 21, 2008, 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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