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Manufacturing activity still tepid, survey finds

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Regional manufacturing activity weakened this month, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's general economic index, hurt by falling demand for goods and less shipping activity.

The indicators for general activity, new orders and shipments suggest weaker conditions, according to the survey. The current activity index has shown no pattern of sustained growth over the past seven months, alternating between positive and negative readings.

“Overall, the general activity index has bounced around for the last six months,” said Mike Trebing, senior economic analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
“There hasn't been a sustained pattern of growth in recent months. This is consistent with the national numbers.”

Among the 85 manufacturers in South Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware that responded, 29 percent reported decreased activity, while 24 percent showed increased activity.

The survey's price indexes suggest continued moderation in price pressures, with 18 percent reporting that they paid higher prices for inputs, while 11 percent paid lower prices.

Still, “in general, the firms continue to be upbeat about their prospects for growth in the next six months,” Trebing said.

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