Manufacturing activity in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s region “continued to contract this month,” as the general business conditions index narrowed to negative 16.3 in July from negative 17.1 in June, this month’s Report on Business indicates.

Economists surveyed by IFR Markets predicted a reading of negative 17.0 for the index.

The prices paid index was 75.6 compared to 69.3 in June, New orders index rose to negative 12.1 from negative 12.4, shipments declined to negative 8.0 from negative 6.7, prices received slid to 28.8 from 29.7, the number of employees index widened to negative 7.3 from negative 6.9, and average employee workweek fell to negative 12.5 from negative 8.9.

The six-months-from-now general business conditions index declined to 18.0 from 21.3.

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