Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region expanded for the third month in a row, according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

“All broad indicators — shipments, new orders and employment — landed in positive territory, with manufacturers noting their first increase in worker numbers since October 2009,” the Richmond survey said.

“Other indicators were also positive. Backlogs increased for the first time since August 2009 and capacity utilization hit an all-time high reading since the inception of the measure,” it said. “Vendor lead time grew at a considerably quicker rate — the highest reading since August 2004, indicating slower delivery times, and inventories increased at a somewhat quicker pace.”

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