Manufacturing is up in parts of the Northeast and Philadelphia area, according to an April Philadelphia Federal Reserve report (link opens as PDF) released today.
The "Philly Fed" publishes the results of a monthly survey asking regional (eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware) manufacturing stakeholders whether certain components of manufacturing have experienced growth (positive number), or contraction (negative number). Investors watch regional manufacturing reports as a possible signal of larger economic upswings or downturns.
After clocking in at 9.0 for March, analysts had expected manufacturing to edge up to 10.0. Actual results came in at 16.6. Coming on the heels of a slow New York economic growth report released Tuesday, analysts can perhaps breathe a bit easier with little evidence of a wider growth slowdown.
Dissecting the index into components, the all-important new orders indicator jumped from 5.7 in March to 14.8 for April. Shipments also improved significantly, up 17 points to 22.7. Inventories continued to shrink, while employment indicators showed increasingly strong growth.
Looking ahead, April's solid report doesn't mean fast growth forever. The survey's future conditions (six months from now) index registered an 8.8 point decline, to 26.6. While still strong, the future outlook for new orders also fell, down 2.5 points to 29.7.