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Philadelphia Fed: Manufacturing Increased at Modest Pace in March

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (03/19/15)

Manufacturing activity in the Mid-Atlantic region increased at a modest pace in March, according to firms responding to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey. The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, at 5.0, was virtually unchanged from its reading of 5.2 in February. Firms’ responses suggest weaker labor market conditions compared with most of last year. The percentage of firms reporting an increase in employees in March (17%) narrowly exceeded the percentage reporting a decrease (14%).

The future employment index also was weaker this month. The future employment index decreased 12 points, to its lowest reading since April 2013. Although nearly 57% of firms are expecting no change in their employment levels over the next six months, the percentage expecting increases in employment (25%) remained greater than the percentage expecting decreases (11%).