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Manufacturers See Weak Activity

For release: 10 a.m., March 20, 2008
Contact: Katherine Q. Dibling, senior media advisor, (215) 574-4119

Philadelphia, Pa. - The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia today released March’s Business Outlook Survey. The manufacturing firms participating in the survey saw weak activity in their plants this month. Indexes for general activity, new orders, and shipments remained negative, although they increased slightly. In the special questions, firms were asked their expectations for changes in production in the second quarter 2008 compared to the first quarter.

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

“Indicators from our Business Outlook Survey suggest that the manufacturing sector in the region is continuing to experience weakness. Although indexes for general activity, shipments, and new orders all improved this month, they remain negative. Despite the reported weakness in activity, a significant share of the manufacturers continued to report price pressures. Most future indicators rebounded this month, but the firms polled are cautious about growth 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, contact Katherine Q. Dibling, the Bank's senior media advisor, at (215) 574-4119. The next survey will be released at 10 a.m., Thursday, April 17, 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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