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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Philly Fed: "modest improvement" in Region’s manufacturing sector

by Calculated Risk on 10/18/2012 10:00:00 AM

The Philly Fed manufacturing index showed expansion in October after five consecutive months of contraction. From the Philly Fed: October Manufacturing Survey

Firms responding to the October Business Outlook Survey reported a modest improvement in business activity this month. The survey’s indicators for general activity returned to positive territory, while new orders and shipments recorded levels near zero. But firms reported continuing declines in employment and hours worked. Indicators for the firms’ expectations over the next six months remained positive.

The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, increased 8 points, to 5.7, marking the first positive reading since April.

Labor market conditions at the reporting firms remained weak this month. The current employment index dipped 3 points, to ‐10.7, its lowest reading since September 2009.
emphasis added
Earlier in the week, the NY Fed reported:
The October Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York manufacturers continued to decline for a third consecutive month. The general business conditions index increased four points but remained negative at -6.2.
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 October. The ISM and total Fed surveys are through September.

The average of the Empire State and Philly Fed surveys increased in October but was still slightly negative.  This suggests another weak reading for the ISM manufacturing index.