Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region "rebounded in February after declining in January," according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, as the manufacturing index gained to positive 6 from negative 12  in January.

Index readings above zero show expansion, while numbers below zero indicate contraction.

Shipments reversed to positive 10 from negative 11, the Fed reported. Volume of new orders rose to zero 17 from negative 17, while the backlog of orders index narrowed to negative 12 from negative 19.

The capacity utilization index reversed to positive 11 from negative 18, while the vendor lead time index grew to zero from negative 4. The number of employees index rose to positive 8 from negative 5, while the average workweek index was at negative 2 after a negative 4 reading last month, and the wages index stayed at 11.

As for future outlook (six months from now), the shipments index was 28, up from 18 last month, while the volume of new orders index grew to 26 from 18, and backlog of orders rose to 11 from zero. Capacity utilization climbed to 13 from 10, the vendor lead time index decreased to 2 from 4, the number of employees index grew to 12 from zero, while the average workweek index was at 1, unchanged from the previous month, and the wages index was 25, up from 20 last month. The capital expenditures index was 7 after 12 last month.

The finished goods inventories index slumped to 12 from 23, while the raw materials index fell to 16 from 23 the previous month.

The current trend in prices paid slid to 2.04 in February from 2.54 in January, while dipping to 0.79 from 0.85 for prices received. The expected trend for the next six months grew to 2.72 from 1.97 for prices paid, and rose to 1.80 from 1.11 for prices received.

All firms surveyed are located within the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia.

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