“Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region expanded at a quicker pace in July,” according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

“The index of overall activity was pushed higher by stronger readings for shipments and new orders,” the survey says. “District contacts reported that new orders rose at the fastest rate since March 2004 and that the pace of hiring continued to exhibit more moderate weakness. Other indicators also suggested generally stronger activity. Backlogs inched lower, while vendor delivery times edged higher and capacity utilization increased notably. In addition, manufacturers reported considerably slower growth in inventories.”

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