The region's manufacturing sector contracted in July, as the general business conditions index improved to negative 12.9 from negative 16.6 in June, this month's Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Report on Business indicates.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted a reading of negative 7.8 for the index.

The prices paid index was positive 3.7, compared to negative 2.8 last month, new orders index gained to negative 6.9 from negative 2.8, shipments climbed to negative 8.6 from negative 16.6, the unfilled orders index rose to negative 9.5 from negative 16.3, the delivery times index dipped to negative 15.7 from negative 15.5, inventories improved to negative 7.5 from negative 8.7, prices received reversed to positive 1.6 from negative 6.9, the number of employees index dropped to negative 8.4 from positive 1.8, and the average employee workweek climbed to negative 17.3 from negative 19.1.

The six months from now general business conditions index dipped to 19.3 from 19.5 in last month's survey, the prices paid index was at 22.8, up from 20.1 in the prior survey, and the prices received index rose to 14.6 from 13.5. The capital expenditures index sank to 3.3 from 19.4 last month. The number of employees index fell to 11.3 from 18.7, while the average workweek index surged to positive 14.5 from negative 0.8. The new orders index fell to 26.1 from 38.2; shipments halved to 19.0 from 38.0; and the unfilled orders index increased to 3.3 from 2.5. The delivery times index slipped to negative 13.0 from negative 7.3, and inventories fell to negative 16.0 from negative 12.0.

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