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Firms See Continued Weakness

For release: 10 a.m., December 18, 2008
Contact: Katherine Dibling, E-mail senior media representative, (215) 574-4119

Philadelphia, Pa. - Conditions in the region's manufacturing sector continued to deteriorate in December, according to firms polled for December's Business Outlook Survey. The survey's broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, improved from -39.3 in November to -32.9 this month. In a special question, the firms were asked about their expectations for changes in costs in 2009.

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 continued to deteriorate this month. All of the survey's broad indicators—general activity, new orders, shipments, and employment—remained negative and at very low levels. Consistent with the overall weakness, firms reported price decreases for both inputs and their own manufactured goods again this month. Most of the survey's indicators of future activity also weakened further this month, suggesting that the region's manufacturing executives expect continued declines during the first half of next year.”

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 aboutthe current pace of business in the participants' plants and their future expectations of business.

To arrange an interview, contact Katherine Q. Dibling, E-mail the Bank's senior media representative, at (215) 574-4119. The next survey will be released at 10 a.m., Thursday, January 15, 2009, and will be made available on our website, and over Businesswire. External Link The aggregate historical data series is also available on the Bank's website.

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