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Manufacturing Makes Major Gains in Northeast

By Justin Loiseau - Sep 19, 2013 at 3:51PM

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Fastest growth rate in over two years.

Manufacturing is making improvements in the Northeast, according to a September 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 9.3 for August (a dip from July's two-year high), analysts had expected a slight increase to 10. Actual results came in at 22.3, the fastest monthly growth rate in over two years.  

Source: Philadelphia Federal Reserve. 

Dissecting the index into components, new orders and shipments helped drive this month's gains. Both components clocked in at 21.2, from 5.3 for new orders in August and -0.9 for shipments. Unfilled orders also pushed itself out of the red, moving from -2.9 to 4.3. Employment was also a bright spot, with number of employees increasing from 3.5 to 10.3, and average employee workweek jumping from -2.6 to 12.2. 

Looking ahead, September's optimism seems as if it'll last, with 58% of firms expecting overall business conditions to improve over the next six months. 

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Fool contributor Justin Loiseau has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @TMFJLo and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFJLo.

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