The region's manufacturing sector expanded in April, but at a slower pace than in March, as the general business conditions index declined to 22.0 from 32.8 in March, this month's Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Report on Business indicates.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted a reading of 26.9 for the index.

The prices paid index was 33.7, down from 40.7 last month, new orders index slipped to 27.4 from 38.6, shipments fell to 23.4 from 32.9, the unfilled orders index declined to 6.6 from 14.4, the delivery times index grew to 13.2 from 4.5, inventories increased to 17.8 from 11.8, prices received slid to 16.6 from 20.6, the number of employees index rose to 19.9 from 17.5, and the average employee workweek increased to 18.9 from 18.5.

The six months from now general business conditions index fell to 45.4 from 59.5 in last month’s survey, the prices paid index was at 34.7, off from 55.7 in the prior survey, and the prices received index dropped to 28.6 from 40.2. The capital expenditures index climbed to 36.5 from 34.5 last month. The number of employees index dipped to 37.6 from 38.5, while the average workweek index decreased to 15.6 from 21.9. The new orders index fell to 55.9 from 61.0, shipments declined to 44.7 from 54.8; and the unfilled orders index gained to 22.2 from 16.7. The delivery times index slid to 4.5 from 7.7, and inventories fell to 12.1 from 16.3.

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