The region's manufacturing sector expanded in July, as the general business conditions index climbed to 19.8 from 12.5 in June, this month's Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Report on Business indicates.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted a reading of 8.0 for the index.

The prices paid index was 21.5, off from 22.5 last month, new orders index slid to 10.2 from 16.6, shipments grew to 14.3 from 4.1, the unfilled orders index narrowed to negative 1.8 from negative 7.9, the delivery times index gained to positive 0.5 from negative 9.3, inventories slumped to negative 21.6 from negative 6.6, prices received declined to 7.0 from positive 14.6, the number of employees index reversed to positive 7.7 from negative 5.4, and the average employee workweek increased to 6.6 from 0.8.

The six months from now general business conditions index grew to 44.9 from 33.7 in last month's survey, the prices paid index was at 42.1, up from 26.4 in the prior survey, and the prices received index rose to 23.9 from 23.5. The capital expenditures index climbed to 27.7 from 27.3 last month. The number of employees index soared to 36.2 from 27.3, while the average workweek index nearly doubled to 14.6 from 7.5. The new orders index gained to 58.8 from 41.5; shipments rose to 51.2 from 37.6; and the unfilled orders index increased to 25.8 from 17.8. The delivery times index grew to 12.9 from 4.8, and inventories surged to 22.0 from 0.4.

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