Manufacturing activity in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s region “continued to deteriorate” in December, although the general business conditions index increased to negative 10.4 in December from negative 39.3 in November, this month’s Report on Business indicates.

Economists surveyed by IFR Markets predicted a reading of negative 40.2 for the index.

“All of the survey’s broad indicators remained negative this month and at relatively low levels,” according to the Fed. “Firms reported declines in input prices and the prices for their own manufactured goods this month. Consistent with the weakness in current activity, most of the survey’s indicators of future activity slid further into negative territory, suggesting that the region’s manufacturing executives expect continued declines over the next six months.”

The prices paid index was negative 33.2, compared to negative 30.7 in November, the new orders index rose to negative 25.2 from negative 31.4, shipments dropped to negative 28.7 from negative 18.8, the unfilled orders index slipped to negative 32.3 from negative 29.1, the delivery times index widened to negative 22.8 from negative 20.6, inventories declined to negative 31.1 from negative 19.6, prices received slid to negative 37.8 from negative 15.5, the number of employees index widened to negative 28.7 from negative 25.2, and the average employee workweek widened to negative 31.4 from negative 19.7.

The six months from now general business conditions index plunged to negative 14.5 from negative 10.4 in last month’s survey, prices paid was at negative 26.6, down from negative 9.2 in the prior survey, and the prices received index was at negative 20.2, down from negative 13.8.

The capital expenditures index was at negative 21.6, down from negative 9.0 last month. The number of employees index slumped to negative 30.2 from negative 25.1, while the average workweek index dropped to negative 24.8 from negative 18.4.

The new orders index slipped to negative 10.0 from negative 7.0; shipments narrowed to negative 3.1 from negative 15.1; and the unfilled orders index increased to negative 16.5 from negative 22.1. The delivery times index improved to negative 21.9 from negative 19.7, and inventories widened to negative 46.6 from negative 26.9.


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