The Philly Fed Survey, or the Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey, for the month of September offered a continued growth from August numbers. Overall it signaled that manufacturing conditions continued to improve, with positive indicators for general activity and new orders increasing from their August numbers.
In terms of the September numbers, the index for current manufacturing activity in the region increased 11 points to 12.8. For the first time since August of last year, the index has registered two consecutive positive readings.
The new orders index also improved, increasing from −7.2 to 1.4. The percentage of firms reporting increases in new orders this month edged up to 30% from 27% last month.
The current shipments index declined from 8.4 in August to −8.8 this month. Both the delivery times and unfilled orders indexes remained weak, with both indexes staying in negative territory.
Firms also reported declines in inventories for the month. The inventories index declined from −9.2 to −26.2. The indicators for unfilled orders, delivery times and inventories have been negative for most of this year.
Looking ahead, firms surveyed remain optimistic about business conditions over the next six months and were more upbeat about prospects for employment. The diffusion index for future activity declined from 45.8 in August to 37.5 in September but remains slightly above its average reading over the past 12 months.
Nearly 50% of the firms expect increases in activity over the next six months, and 54% expect increases in new orders.
The future employment index increased sharply this month, from 12.9 to 24.9. Nearly 34% of the firms said they expected to expand employment over the next six months, while 9% expected to reduce employment.