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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 increased from their readings in January. The general activity index increased from a reading of 15.2 in January to 17.6 this month.

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

"Manufacturing executives responding to the Business Outlook Survey this month report that conditions continue to improve in the region's manufacturing sector. Indexes for current activity, new orders, shipments, and employment all remained positive and improved from their readings in January. There was a notable pickup in new orders this month. Firms remain generally optimistic about future growth in their manufacturing business, and there was a noteworthy improvement in capital spending plans."

In this month's special questions, firms were asked to characterize their current inventory situations. In this survey, almost 57 percent of the firms reported that their inventory levels are compatible with current economic conditions. In February 2009, almost 44 percent reported as such.

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 will be released at 10 a.m., Thursday, March 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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