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Firms Continue to See Decrease in Business Activity

For release: 10 a.m., April 16, 2009
Contact: Katherine Dibling, E-mail senior media representative, (215) 574-4119

Philadelphia, Pa. - The region's manufacturing sector contracted less severely this month, according to the firms polled for the April Business Outlook Survey. The survey's broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, increased from a reading of -35.0 in March to -24.4 this month. In the special questions, manufacturers were asked about credit conditions.

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

"Manufacturing executives' responses to the April Business Outlook Survey suggest that the manufacturing sector contracted less severely this month. Although all of the broad indicators for business conditions remained negative, some improved from their readings in March. One indication of continued weakness is that firms reported declines in input prices and prices for their own manufactured goods again this month, and the corresponding price indexes reached record lows. Indicators of future activity showed significant improvement, suggesting that the region's manufacturing executives expect some recovery in manufacturing over the next six months. However, firms expect reductions in employment to continue 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, May 21, 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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