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HomeNewsEconomyMid-Atlantic Manufacturing Index Booms as Firms Expect Future Activity to Increase

Mid-Atlantic Manufacturing Index Booms as Firms Expect Future Activity to Increase


A worker in the mid-Atlantic manufacturing sector works with raw aluminum materials. (PHOTO: REUTERS)

The Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve gauge of factory activity in the Mid-Atlantic region, rose to 23.6 in January. That’s up from a revised reading of 19.7 the month prior and better than the median forecast that called for 15.8.

Readings above zero indicate expansion, while those below indicate contraction.

Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey

But optimism regarding future business conditions indicates even further increased growth in the manufacturing sector over at least the first half of the year. The diffusion index for future general activity is now at its highest reading since August 2014, up from a reading of 48.7 in December to 56.6 this month.

Firms reported an increase in manufacturing employment this month. The percentage of firms reporting an increase in employment (19%) exceeded the percentage reporting a decrease (6%). The current employment index improved 9 points, registering its second consecutive positive reading. Firms also reported an increase in work hours this month: The average workweek index, which was essentially unchanged from December, has now been positive for three consecutive months.

Special Questions (January 2017)

1. Over the past several months, how would you characterize the underlying demand for your manufactured products? Exclude any purely seasonal effects.
Increase significantly
Total increase:
Increase modestly
No change
Decrease modestly
Total decrease:
Decrease significantly
2. How will your firm’s total production for the first quarter compare with that of the last quarter?
Increase of more than 6%
Total increase:
Increase of 4–6%
Increase of 2–4%
Increase of less than 2%
No change
Decrease of less than 2%
Total decrease:
Decrease of 2–4%
Decrease of 4–6%
Decrease of more than 6%
Average expected growth for all firms: 1.6%
Average expected growth for firms attributing growth to seasonal factors: 0.0%*
Average expected growth for firms attributing growth to changes in conditions: 2.3%*
*The calculation is based on responses to a separate question about whether the expected change was due to seasonal factors, changes in business conditions, or other factors.
3. If you expect to increase production in the next quarter, this will be accomplished by:
% of all firms
Hiring additional workers
Increasing work hours of current staff, without hiring additional workers
Increasing productivity of current staff, without hiring additional workers

Written by

PPD Business, the economy-reporting arm of People's Pundit Daily, is "making sense of current events." We are a no-holds barred, news reporting pundit of, by, and for the people.

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