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Firms Report Stronger Activity

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

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Growth in the region's manufacturing sector picked up in February, according to the respondents to the Business Outlook Survey. Most of the broad indicators showed an improvement over their readings in January, and employment among reporting firms increased. The diffusion index of current activity increased to 35.9 from 19.3 in January. This is the highest reading since January 2004.

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

Special Questions: What impacts are recent increases in costs having, or expected to have, on the prices of your finished products over the next three months?

  • Since the beginning of the year, 57 percent of the responding firms indicated some increase in prices for their own goods, with the most frequently cited range of increase between 3 and 4 percent.
  • Fifty-nine percent indicated that they expect increases over the next three months, with the most frequently cited range also between 3 and 4 percent.
  • Nearly 29 percent of firms reported currently experiencing shortages or delayed delivery of critical raw or intermediate products, with the most commonly cited products being steel or steel-related and other metals.

Higher Prices Are Reported

  • Sixty-seven percent of the firms reported higher prices for inputs, compared with 54 percent in the previous month.
  • Twenty-nine percent of firms reported higher prices for their own goods this month, compared to 26 percent in January.

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, March 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. (44 KB)

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