Thursday, January 21, 2010

Philly Fed Index Shows Expansion in January

by Bill McBride on 1/21/2010 10:00:00 AM

Manufacturing has been one of the bright spots for the economy beause of a combination of inventory restocking and increased exports - and the Philly Fed survey shows continued expansion in January.

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

The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, decreased from a revised reading of 22.5 in December to 15.2 this month. The index has now remained positive for five consecutive months (see Chart). Indicators for new orders and shipments suggest continued growth this month, but they also declined somewhat from their December readings. The current new orders index, which has remained positive for six consecutive months, decreased 5 points. The current shipments index fell 4 points. The current inventory index, although still negative, increased 4 points, to its highest reading in 26 months. Indicators for unfilled orders and delivery times edged higher and are both positive, suggesting stronger economic conditions.

Labor market conditions have been stabilizing in recent months, and for the second consecutive month, the percentage of firms reporting an increase in employment was higher than the percentage reporting declines. The current employment index increased 2 points, to its highest reading since February 2008.
...
The future general activity index remained positive for the 13th consecutive month and increased notably from a revised reading of 35.9 in December to 43. ... For the ninth consecutive month, the percentage of firms expecting employment to increase over the next six months (28 percent) exceeded the percentage expecting declines (14 percent).
emphasis added
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 has been positive for five months now, after being negative or zero for 21 straight months.