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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Philly Fed "Region’s manufacturing sector has steadied"

by Calculated Risk on 9/20/2012 10:00:00 AM

The Philly Fed manufacturing index showed slight contraction in September. From the Philly Fed: September Manufacturing Survey

Firms responding to the September Business Outlook Survey reported nearly flat business activity this month. The survey’s indicators for general activity and new orders both improved from last month but recorded levels near zero. Firms reported continuing declines in shipments, employment, and hours worked. Indicators for the firms’ expectations over the next six months, however, improved notably this month, although the same firms forecast continued deceleration in production growth in the fourth quarter.

The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, increased 5 points, to a reading of ‐1.9. Although this marks the fifth consecutive negative reading for the index, the index has been edging nearer to zero over the last three months.

Labor market conditions at the reporting firms remained weak this month. The current employment index, at ‐7.3, was little changed from its reading in July and August.
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 September. The ISM and total Fed surveys are through August.

The average of the Empire State and Philly Fed surveys increased slightly in September, and has remained negative for four consecutive months. This suggests another weak reading for the ISM manufacturing index.