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Firms See Decreased Business Activity

For release: 10 a.m., February 19, 2009
Contact: Katherine Dibling, E-mail senior media representative, (215) 574-4119

Philadelphia, Pa. - Conditions in the region's manufacturing sector continued to deteriorate this month, according to the firms polled for the February Business Outlook Survey. The survey's broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, decreased from a reading of -24.3 in January to -41.3. In the special questions, manufacturers were asked about inventories.

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

“Indicators from February's Business Outlook Survey suggest that conditions in the region's manufacturing sector continued to deteriorate this month. All of the survey's broad indicators remained negative and declined from their levels in January. Nearly one-half of the firms reported lower employment and average work hours this month. Firms continued to report lower prices for purchased inputs as well as for their own manufactured goods. Indicators of future activity improved, however, suggesting that the region's manufacturing executives expect some recovery in manufacturing 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, E-mail the Bank's senior media representative, at (215) 574-4119. The next survey will be released at 10 a.m., Thursday, March 19, 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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