Explore This Section

Firms: Manufacturing Continues to Improve

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

Bookmark and Share

Regional manufacturing activity continued to show improvement in March, according to the respondents to the Business Outlook Survey. The survey's broadest indicators either improved from their readings last month or remained at relatively high levels. The diffusion index of current activity increased to 43.4 from 35.9 in February. This is the highest reading since January 1984.

Increases in input prices continued to be widespread. The survey's broad indicators of future activity also showed notable improvement this month.

View a video of the press conference on our YouTube channel. YouTube

Special Questions: What change, if any, do you anticipate in your firm's production during the second quarter of 2011 compared to the first quarter?

  • Over 75 percent of the firms expect increases in production in the second quarter; 10 percent expect decreases. This is in contrast to the situation in March of last year, when 57 percent of the firms were expecting growth and 17 percent were expecting declines in production.
  • Sixty-six percent of the firms said second quarter production growth would represent an acceleration in growth (16 percent characterized it as "significant acceleration"; 49 percent said the expected growth represented "some acceleration").

Firms Continue to Report Higher Prices

  • Sixty-four percent of the firms reported higher prices for inputs this month.
  • Thirty-two percent of firms reported higher prices of their own goods this month, compared with 29 percent February.

Firms See Improved Labor Market Conditions

  • For the seventh consecutive month, the percentage of firms reporting an increase in employment (25 percent) is higher than the percentage reporting a decline (7 percent).
  • Over twice as many firms reported a longer workweek (25 percent) than reported a shorter one (12 percent).

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, April 21, 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. (64 KB)

Connect With Us

Media Contacts

Daneil Mazone E-mail
Manager, Media Relations
(215) 574-7163
(267) 535-1808 (cell)

Joey Lee E-mail
Media Relations Representative
(215) 574-3840
(215) 983-6820 (cell)