The Philadelphia region’s manufacturing sector expanded in March at a swifter pace than in February, as the general business conditions index climbed to 12.5 from 10.2 in February, according to this month’s Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Report on Business.

Economists expected a 12.0 reading.

The prices paid index was 18.7, compared to 38.7 last month, the new orders index slumped to 3.3 from 11.7 and shipments dropped to 3.5 from 15.0.

The general business conditions index for six months from now dropped to 32.9 from 33.3 in last month’s survey, the prices paid index was at 39.4, off from 50.4 in the previous survey, and the prices received index fell to 25.6 from 32.0. The capital expenditures index slid to 14.1 from 18.5 last month. The number of employees index slid to 21.8 from 22.5, while the average workweek index grew to 11.2 from 10.8. The new orders index rose to 36.4 from 32.5, while shipments gained to 31.3 from 29.0.

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