The region’s manufacturing sector expanded modestly in April at a slower pace than in March, as the general business conditions index slipped to 8.5 from 12.5 in March, this month’s Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Report on Business indicates.

Economists predicted a reading of 12.0.

The prices paid index rose to 22.5 from 18.7 last month, new orders index slumped to 2.7 from 3.3, inventories jumped to 8.2 from 0.9, prices received gained to 9.4 from 8.4, the number of employees index soared to 17.9 from 6.8, and the average employee workweek reversed to negative 2.3 from positive 2.7.

The six-months-from-now general business conditions index increased to 33.8 from 32.9 in last month’s survey, the prices paid index fell to 35.2 from 39.4, and the prices received index fell to 20.4 from 25.6.

The capital expenditures index rose to 21.7 from 14.1 last month. The number of employees index gained to 27.8 from 21.8, while the average workweek index declined to 7.5 from 11.2. The new orders index dipped to 35.4 from 36.4 and inventories grew to 9.7 from 5.8.

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