Thursday, June 17, 2010

Philly Fed Index "decreased notably" in June, Employment turned slightly negative

by Bill McBride on 6/17/2010 10:00:00 AM

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 notably from a reading of 21.4 in May to 8.0 in June. The index, which had edged higher for four consecutive months, fell back to its lowest reading in 10 months (see Chart). Although still positive and suggesting growth, indexes for new orders and shipments showed a mixed pattern this month — the new orders index increased 3 points, while the shipments index decreased 2 points. The current inventory index increased 13 points and moved back from a negative reading into positive territory, suggesting an increase in inventories this month.

Until this month, firms’ responses had been suggesting that labor market conditions were improving, but indexes for current employment and work hours were both slightly negative. For the first time in seven months, more firms reported a decrease in employment (18 percent) than reported an increase (17 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 ten months now, but turned down "notably" in June.

This might suggest that growth in the manufacturing sector is slowing. Especially concerning is the slightly negative employment index.