The Philadelphia Fed released its November Business Outlook Survey on Thursday morning. The main reading in the survey, the current activity index, suggested a pickup in growth when it blew out Bloomberg’s consensus estimate of 18.0, instead posting a 40.8. The previous reading was 20.7. This was the highest reading since December 1993.
Current new orders and shipments indexes rose from their readings in October. The current new orders index increased 18 points, to 35.7. Over 44% of the firms reported a rise in new orders, compared with 36% last month.
Labor market indicators showed improvement this month, with the current employment index rising 10 points to 22.4, a three-year high. Of the firms reporting, 29% had increases in employment, compared to 20% that reported increased employment last month. Firms also reported higher work hours, with the average workweek index rising from -1.3 to 7.8.
The report further detailed:
Both the prices paid and prices received diffusion indexes moderated this month. Input price pressures were reported to be less than last month: The prices paid index fell 10 points to 17.3 this month. Twenty-one percent of the firms reported higher prices paid this month compared with 29 percent last month. Reflecting the prices of their own manufactured goods, the prices received index decreased 9 points from October. The percent of firms reporting higher prices (19 percent) exceeded the percentage reporting lower prices (8 percent), but 72 percent of the firms reported steady prices.
Future indicators imply optimism for continued growth. The future general activity index rose three points to 57.7. Roughly 60% of the firms expect increases in activity over the next six months. Only 2% of the firms indicated that they expect decreases over the next six months.
The indexes for future new orders and shipments also remained at relatively high levels but fell slightly this month. The future employment index rose almost four points to 31.5, and about 40% of the firms expect to increase employment over the next six months.