Mid-Atlantic Manufacturing Firms Expect Overall Growth Over Next 6 Months, But Current Activity Lowest Since 1980
Philadelphia, Penn. (PPD) — The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey fell to a new low for April. But manufacturing firms see light at the end of the very dark tunnel.
Forecasts ranged from a low of -50.0 to a high of -22.0. The consensus forecast was -30.0.
The diffusion index for current activity declined for the second consecutive month from -12.7 in March to -56.6 this month. That’s below the lowest levels during the Great Recession.
This is the current activity index’s lowest reading since July 1980. At that time, the index came in at -57.1. The index for new orders fell further into negative territory, from -15.5 to -70.9, the lowest reading ever recorded.
The current shipments index fell 74 points to an all-time low. Unfilled orders fell 6 points further into negative territory, while delivery times rose 13 points to 4.1.
The firms reported widespread decreases in manufacturing employment this month, as the current employment index fell 51 points to -46.7, its lowest reading since March 2009. The average workweek index fell 55 points to -54.5, its lowest reading ever.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
Despite the current conditions, manufacturing firms remained optimistic about growth over the next six months. The diffusion index for future general activity rose 8 points to 43.0, largely erasing a 10-point decline last month. Over 53% of the firms expect increases in activity over the next six months, while 10% expect declines