The region's manufacturing sector contracted in August, as the general business conditions index improved to negative 7.1 from negative 12.9 in July, this month’s Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Report on Business indicates.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted a reading of negative 5.0 for the index.

The prices paid index was positive 11.2, compared to positive 3.7 last month, new orders index gained to negative 5.5 from negative 6.9, shipments dropped to negative 11.3 from negative 8.6, the unfilled orders index fell to negative 16.2 from negative 9.5, the delivery times index ticked to negative 12.2 from negative 15.7, inventories improved to negative 6.9 from negative 7.5, prices received gained to positive 2.8 from positive 1.6, the number of employees index dropped to negative 8.6 from negative 8.4, and the average employee workweek climbed to negative 14.6 from negative 17.3.

The six months from now general business conditions index dipped to 12.5 from 19.3 in last month’s survey, the prices paid index was at 33.1, up from 22.8 in the prior survey, and the prices received index rose to 20.3 from 14.6. The capital expenditures index rose to 9.1 from 3.3 last month. The number of employees index fell to 10.8 from 11.3, while the average workweek index declined to positive 4.8 from positive 14.5. The new orders index fell to 18.5 from 26.1; shipments dropped to 11.7 from 19.0; and the unfilled orders index decreased to 1.2 from 3.3. The delivery times index slipped to negative 0.8 from negative 13.0, and inventories rose to negative 6.2 from negative 16.0.

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