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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Philly Fed: Manufacturing "contracted less severely" this Month

by Calculated Risk on 4/16/2009 10:05:00 AM

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

The region's manufacturing sector contracted less severely this month ... Indexes for general activity, new orders, and employment remained negative but improved somewhat from March. ... Most of the survey's broad indicators of future activity improved notably this month, suggesting that the region's manufacturing executives expect declines to bottom out over the next six months.

The survey's broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, increased from -35.0 in March to -24.4 this month. Although clearly indicating continued overall decline, this reading is the highest since January. The index has been negative for 16 of the past 17 months, a span that corresponds to the current recession ...

Employment losses remained widespread this month, with over 45 percent of the firms reporting declines. The current employment index, though still negative at -44.9, increased seven points from its record low reading last month.
Broad indicators of future activity showed significant improvement this month. The future general activity index remained positive for the fourth consecutive month and increased markedly from 14.5 in March to 36.2, its highest reading in 18 months (Note:click here for Philly Fed chart of future activity index).
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 negative for 16 of the past 17 months, a period that corresponds to the current recession ."