NEW YORK – The region's manufacturing sector expanded in February at a swifter pace than in January, as the general business conditions index climbed to 10.2 from 7.3 in January, this month’s Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Report on Business indicates.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted a reading of 9.5 for the index.

The prices paid index was 38.7, compared to 31.8 last month, new orders index gained to 11.7 from 6.9, shipments soared to 15.0 from 5.7, the unfilled orders index reversed to positive 2.2 from negative 4.1, the delivery times index increased to positive 1.5 from negative 3.8, inventories slipped to negative 12.9 from negative 6.3, prices received increased to 15.0 from 11.2, the number of employees index slumped to 1.1 from 11.6, and average employee workweek jumped to 10.1 from 5.0.

The six months from now general business conditions index dropped to 33.3 from 49.0 in last month’s survey, the prices paid index was at 50.4, off from 52.7 in the prior survey, and the prices received index rose to 32.0 from 23.8. The capital expenditures index slid to 18.5 from 22.9 last month. The number of employees index gained to 22.5 from 19.1, while the average workweek index grew to 10.8 from 9.2. The new orders index fell to 32.5 from 49.7; shipments dropped to 29.0 from 48.2; and the unfilled orders index decreased to 8.3 from 14.7. The delivery times index improved to negative 2.7 from negative 5.6, and inventories grew to 3.9 from 3.3.

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