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Firms Continue to See Increase in Business Activity

For immediate release
Contact: Katherine Dibling, E-mail Senior Media Representative, (215) 574-4119

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Results from the Business Outlook Survey suggest that regional manufacturing activity continues to expand in January. All of the broad indicators remained positive, and there was an apparent pickup in new orders and employment. The diffusion index of current activity edged down slightly to 19.3 in January from a revised reading of 20.8 in December. The survey's annual historical data revisions were released on January 13, 2011.

Price indicators suggest that increases in input prices continue to be more widespread this month, and more firms reported increases in prices for their own manufactured goods. The firms polled expect continued expansion in business activity over the next six months, according to the survey's indicators of future activity.

Special Questions: What Factors Are Influencing Your Hiring Plans?

  • Among firms that are planning to increase employment over the next six to 12 months, the most frequently cited reason influencing this decision was expectations of high sales growth.
  • The most frequently cited factor among those firms restraining hiring was low expectatons for sales growth.
  • Uncertainty about regulations and government policies was the second most important factor cited, followed by high labor costs.

Higher Prices Are Reported

  • Fifty-four percent of the firms reported higher prices for inputs, compared with 52 percent in the previous month.
  • On balance, firms also reported a rise in prices for their own manufactured goods.

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. 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 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, February 17, 2011, 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.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia helps formulate and implement monetary policy, supervises banks and bank holding companies, and provides financial services to depository institutions and the federal government. It is one of the 12 regional Reserve Banks that, together with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank serves eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.

Related Resources

Business Outlook Survey

Download the chart for this month's survey. (50 KB)

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