The Philadelphia region’s manufacturing sector continued to contract in September, but the drops were not as widespread as in August, as the general business conditions index narrowed to negative 17.5 from negative 30.7, this month’s Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Report on Business indicates.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted a reading of negative 15.0 for the index.

The prices paid index was 23.2, compared to 12.8 last month, new orders index bounced up to negative 11.3 from negative 26.8, shipments slid to negative 22.8 from negative 13.9, and the unfilled orders index improved to negative 10.4 from negative 20.9.

The delivery times index rose to negative 7.0 from negative 18.1, inventories reversed to positive 10.2 from negative 9.8, prices received increased to positive 0.9 from negative 9.0, the number of employees index reversed to positive 5.8 from negative 5.2, and the average employee workweek climbed to negative 13.7 from negative 14.4.

The general business conditions index for six months from now surged to 21.4 from 1.4 in last month’s survey, the prices paid index was at 36.3, up from 34.6 in the prior survey, and the prices received index gained to 18.2 from 16.5.

The capital expenditures index rose to 5.5 from 5.2 last month. The number of employees index rose to 11.2 from 7.8, while the average workweek index reversed to positive 7.4 from negative 5.3.

The new orders index climbed to 21.6 from 16.3, shipments grew to 25.2 from 12.6 and the unfilled orders index increased to positive 4.7 from negative 3.5. The delivery times index crept to negative 4.8 from negative 5.1, and inventories improved to negative 14.1 from negative 26.2.

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