Thursday, February 20, 2020

Philly Fed Manufacturing Suggests Activity Increased in February

by Calculated Risk on 2/20/2020 09:04:00 AM

From the Philly Fed: Current Manufacturing Indicators Suggest a Pickup in Growth in February

Manufacturing firms reported an improvement in regional manufacturing activity, according to results from the February Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey. The survey’s current indicators for general activity, new orders, and shipments increased this month, suggesting more widespread growth. The firms reported expansion in employment, although at a moderated pace from January. The survey’s broad future indexes also showed improvement this month, indicating that growth is expected to continue over the next six months.

The diffusion index for current general activity rose nearly 20 points this month to 36.7, its highest reading since February 2017 … The firms reported overall increases in manufacturing employment this month, but the current employment index decreased 10 points to 9.8. Just 18 percent of the firms reported higher employment, compared with 28 percent last month. The average workweek index, however, increased 5 points.
emphasis added
This was well above the consensus forecast. Here is a graph comparing the regional Fed surveys and the ISM manufacturing index:

Fed Manufacturing Surveys and ISM PMI Click on graph for larger image.

The New York and Philly Fed surveys are averaged together (yellow, through February), and five Fed surveys are averaged (blue, through January) including New York, Philly, Richmond, Dallas and Kansas City. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) PMI (red) is through January (right axis).

These early reports suggest the ISM manufacturing index will be solidly in positive territory in February.