Thursday, August 20, 2009

Philly Fed: "Some signs of stabilizing"

by Bill McBride on 8/20/2009 10:00:00 AM

Here is the Philadelphia Fed Index released today: Business Outlook Survey.

The region's manufacturing sector is showing some signs of stabilizing ....

The survey's broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, increased from -7.5 in July to 4.2 this month. This is the highest reading of the index since November 2007. The percentage of firms reporting increases in activity (27 percent) was slightly higher than the percentage reporting decreases (23 percent). Other broad indicators also suggested improvement. The current new orders index edged six points higher, from -2.2 to 4.2, also its highest reading since November 2007. The current shipments index increased 10 points, to a slightly positive reading.

Labor market conditions remain weak. Firms continue to report declines in employment and work hours, but overall job losses were not as large this month. The current employment index increased from a weak reading of -25.3 to -12.9, its highest level in 11 months. Twenty-three percent of firms reported declines in employment this month, down from 30 percent in the previous month. ...
Philly Fed Index Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the Philly index for the last 40 years.

The index was been negative for 19 of the previous 20 months, before turning slightly positive this month. Employment is still weak.