The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's Business Outlook Survey jumped from a reading of 9.0 in March to 16.6 in April. That was the strongest reading since last September, and it beat a consensus estimate of 10.0. The index has now increased for two consecutive months, following a weather-influenced negative reading in February. Recall that any reading above zero indicates expansion.
The new-orders component of the report rose to 14.8 in April from 5.7 in March. Shipments increased all the way to 22.7 from 5.7 in the previous month. And inventories improved to −1.5 in April from a −6.8.
Employment was stronger as well. The reading on number of employees rose from 1.7 in March to 6.9, and the average employee workweek rose to 5.0 in April from 3.1.
The Philly Fed reading compares to the Empire State index, which unexpectedly dropped to 1.3 in April from 5.6 in March. And the most recently reported ISM report on the health of the manufacturing sector rose to 53.7 in March from 53.2 in February.
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Filed under: Economy