“The region’s manufacturing sector is still experiencing weakness,” as the general business conditions index decreased to negative 7.5 in July from negative 2.2 in June, this month’s Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Report on Business indicates.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted a reading of negative 5.0.

“Indexes for general activity, new orders, and shipments all registered negative readings this month, although the indexes’ levels remained above their average readings for the year,” the Fed said. “Firms also report continued declines in employment and work hours this month. Most of the survey’s broad indicators of future activity declined slightly this month, but they continue to suggest that the region’s manufacturing executives expect a recovery in business over the next six months.”

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