Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region increased “modestly” in April, according to the Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey released on Thursday.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index rose to 7.5 from 5.0 the month before.
“Indicators for general activity and new orders were positive but remained at low readings,” the Philadelphia Fed said. “Firms reported overall declines in shipments this month, but employment and work hours increased at the reporting firms.”
Economists forecast a reading of 6.0, according to a Reuters poll. Any reading above zero indicates expansion in the region’s manufacturing. 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. It follows the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, which was released Wednesday. The New York Fed said manufacturing in the region contracted in April as New York business conditions deteriorated, significantly missing economists’ expectations.