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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Philly Fed: "Regional manufacturing activity continued to expand at a moderate pace in January"

by Calculated Risk on 1/19/2012 10:10:00 AM

From the Philly Fed: January 2012 Business Outlook Survey

The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, edged up slightly from a revised reading of 6.8 in December to 7.3 in January. ... The new orders index remained positive for the fourth consecutive month but declined from a revised reading of 10.7 in December to 6.9 this month.
The current employment index has now been positive for five consecutive months
but was virtually unchanged
from last month’s reading. The percentage of firms
reporting an increase in employment (21 percent) was higher than the percentage
reporting a decline (10 percent). Firms reporting a longer workweek (23 percent) only narrowly outnumbered those reporting a shorter one (18 percent).
The future general activity index increased from a revised reading of 40 in December to 49 this month. The index has increased for five consecutive months and is now at its highest reading in 10 months.
This indicates expansion in January, at a slower pace than in December, but below the consensus forecast of +11.0.

The six month outlook improved again, and employment increased (number of employees was at 11.6, up slightly from 11.5 last month, and the average workweek was at 5.0, up from 2.8).

ISM PMI Click on graph for larger image.

Here is a graph comparing the regional Fed surveys and the ISM manufacturing index. The dashed green line is an average of the NY Fed (Empire State) and Philly Fed surveys through January. The ISM and total Fed surveys are through December.

The average of the Empire State and Philly Fed surveys increased again in January, and is at the highest level since early 2011.

All current manufacturing graphs

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims decline to 352,000
Housing Starts decline in December