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Firms Continue to See Weak Manufacturing Activity

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

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Regional manufacturing activity remained weak in July, according to the respondents to the Business Outlook Survey. The survey's indicators for activity and new orders, which had turned negative in June, recovered somewhat but are at very low positive readings. The diffusion index of current activity increased to 3.2 in July from -7.7 in June. The broadest indicator of future activity rebounded to 23.7 this month from 2.5 in June.

Firms indicated that, in July, employment grew modestly while the average workweek lessened. Indexes for prices show a continuing trend of moderating price pressures.

Special Questions: Demand

  • Firms were asked about recent trends in demand for their manufactured goods and to characterize the reasons for slowing.
  • Slightly more than half of the firms indicated that demand had increased recently, while 26 percent indicated that demand had slowed.
  • Of those firms that experienced some slowing, the most frequently cited reasons were increased uncertainty (82.4 percent) and higher prices for energy, commodities, and transportation (44.1 percent). Other reasons included seasonal factors (35.3 percent), and the ending of fiscal stimulus spending (11.8 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, August 18, 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 and savings and loan 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. (51 KB)

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