Thursday, August 19, 2010

Philly Fed Index shows contraction in August, first time since July 2009

by Bill McBride on 8/19/2010 10:00:00 AM

Here is the Philadelphia Fed Index: Business Outlook Survey

The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, decreased from a reading of 5.1 in July to ‐7.7 in August. The index turned negative, marking a period of declining monthly activity for the first time since July 2009 (see Chart). Indexes for new orders and
shipments also suggest a slowing this month
; the new orders index fell slightly, to ‐7.1, while the shipments index turned negative, declining to ‐4.5. Indicating weakness, indexes for both delivery times and unfilled orders remained negative this month.

The percentage of firms reporting a decline in employment (23 percent) was higher than the percentage (20 percent) reporting an increase. More concerning was the significant drop in the average employee workweek index from 1.7 in July to ‐17.1 in August.
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.

This index turned down sharply in June and July and was negative in August for the first time since July 2009.

These surveys are timely, but noisy. However this is further evidence of a 2nd half slowdown.