“Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region firmed somewhat after stabilizing in November,” according to the monthly business activity survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

“The index of overall activity edged higher as positive readings for shipments and new orders offset a slight decline in the reading for employment,” it said.

The manufacturing index increased to 3 in December from zero in November. Index readings above zero show expansion, while numbers below zero indicate contraction. Shipments rose to 3 from 1, the Fed reported.

As for future outlook, the shipments index was 27, off from 36 last month.

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