Factory growth activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region fell for a fourth straight month in March and now sits at its lowest level in more than a year, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve survey released on Thursday.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey (MBOS)showed business activity index fell to 5.0 this month, which is the lowest since February 2014, down from February’s 5.2.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast an increase to 7.1, but any reading above zero indicates expansion in the region’s manufacturing. In other words, the survey is in danger of falling in to contraction territory. The survey covers factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
It is seen as one of the first monthly indicators of the health of U.S. manufacturing leading up to the national report by the Institute for Supply Management.
Just four months ago, in November, the Philadelphia Fed gauge had notched its highest reading since December 1993, but has fallen each month since then.