The region's manufacturing sector expanded in December at a quicker pace than in November, as the general business conditions index increased to 26.2 from 22.7 in November, this month's Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Report on Business indicates.

Economists surveyed by IFR Markets predicted a reading of 21.8 for the index.

The prices paid index was 25.4, down from 39.0 last month, new orders index grew to 29.8 from 21.4, shipments rose to 23.4 from 21.7, the unfilled orders index decreased to 10.8 from 17.0, the delivery times index dropped to 10.9 from 14.6, inventories narrowed to negative 1.6 from negative 8.6, prices received gained to 11.3 from 8.6, the number of employees index fell to 18.1 from 22.6, and the average employee workweek slumped to 10.6 from 13.7.

The six months from now general business conditions index rose to 53.5 from 50.1 in last month’s survey, the prices paid index was at 58.1, up from 54.0 in the prior survey, and the prices received index fell to 39.8 from 45.0. The capital expenditures index rose to 38.0 from 36.7 last month. The number of employees index declined to 33.0 from 41.2, while the average workweek index slid to 17.5 from 18.8. The new orders index climbed to 59.8 from 56.4, shipments gained to 51.5 from 47.8; and the unfilled orders index dropped to 10.9 from 22.1. The delivery times index fell to negative 3.4 from positive 7.6, and inventories increased to 32.7 from 28.1.

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