Thursday, November 20, 2008

Philly Fed: Manufacturing sector index "lowest level since October 1990"

by Bill McBride on 11/20/2008 10:41:00 AM

Until recently the manufacturing sector (except the automakers) was holding up pretty well. Not anymore ...

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

Conditions in the region's manufacturing sector continued to deteriorate, according to firms polled for this month's Business Outlook Survey. Most broad indicators declined again in November, following sharp decreases in October. ... Most of the survey's indicators of future activity slid further into negative territory this month, suggesting that the region's manufacturing executives expect continued declines over the next six months.
The survey's broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, decreased from -37.5 in October to -39.3 this month. This index, which fell a dramatic 41 points last month, is now at its lowest level since October 1990.
The current employment index fell notably this month, declining seven points, to -25.2
Philly Fed Index Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the Philly index vs. recessions for the last 40 years. The manufacturing sector is clearly in recession - although still not as bad as during earlier recessions.