The monthly manufacturing index from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank fell in April from a March reading of 12.5 to 8.6, substantially worse than a consensus estimate decline to 10.5. Any reading above zero indicates that more manufacturers are growing than are shrinking.
The decline was the first in six months for the index, and comes just a few days after the Empire State manufacturing index reported by the New York Fed fell from 20.21 in March to 6.56 in April.
Employment was one bright spot in today’s report. More than 25% of employers said they added jobs in April and more than a third plan to add jobs in the next 6 months.
Weighing on the index are new orders and shipments, both of which fell in April. New orders slid from a reading of 3.3 in March to 2.7 in April. Shipments dropped from 3.5 to 2.8. Another item that sapped strength from the April reading was the index of prices paid for raw materials, which rose from 18.7 to 22.7.
The US economy continues its weak growth path and about the best thing that can be said about that is that at least the indicators point up and to the right.