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Firms Continue to See Improvement

For release: 10 a.m., January 21, 2010
Contact: Katherine Dibling, E-mail senior media representative, (215) 574-4119

Philadelphia, Pa. - The region's manufacturing sector continues to show improvement, according to firms polled for this month's Business Outlook Survey. Indexes for general activity, new orders, and shipments all remained positive this month, although each fell back somewhat from their revised readings in December. The general activity index decreased to 15.2 this month from 22.5 in December.

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

"Manufacturing executives responding to the Business Outlook Survey this month continue to report improvement in manufacturing, although some of the survey's current indicators fell from their readings in December. Indexes for general activity, new orders, and shipments all remained positive this month, and for the second consecutive month, the percentage of firms reporting increases was higher than the percentage reporting declines. Responses to supplemental questions also corroborated an increase in demand over the past several months. Overall, expectations improved in January, and firms remain generally optimistic about growth over the first half of 2010."

In this month's special questions, firms were asked to characterize demand for their products over the past three months. The improvement in manufacturing was evident in their responses, since the percentage of firms indicating an increase in demand was higher than the percentage indicating a decrease. Nearly 35 percent of firms indicated that demand had increased modestly over the last three months, and 7 percent indicated significant increases in demand.

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 Business Outlook Survey survey will be released at 10 a.m., Thursday, February 18, 2010, 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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