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Philly Fed Index Pulls Back Off 33-Year High In March

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Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity grew at a slower rate in the month of March, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia revealed in a report on Thursday.

The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for general activity fell to 32.8 in March from 43.3 in February, although a positive reading still indicates growth. The index had been expected to drop to 30.0.

The pullback by the Philly Fed's index of regional manufacturing activity came after it jumped to its highest level in over thirty years in the previous month.

However, the Philly Fed noted that the survey's other broad indicators for new orders, shipments, and employment all improved or were steady.

The report said the new orders index inched up to 38.6 in March from 38.0 in February, while the shipments index rose to 32.9 from 28.6.

The employment index also jumped to 17.5 in March from 11.1 in February, reaching its highest level since November of 2014.

Indicating an increase in pricing pressure, the prices paid index soared to 40.7 in March from 29.9 in February and the prices received index surged up 20.6 from 10.6.

The Philly Fed said the survey's future indicators continued to improve and reflect a broadening base of optimism about future growth in manufacturing.

The diffusion index for future general activity climbed to 59.5 in March from 53.5 in February and is now at its highest reading since August of 2014.

On Wednesday, the New York Fed released a separate report showing that activity in the New York manufacturing sector grew at a modestly slower rate in March.

The New York Fed said its business conditions index dipped to 16.4 in March from 18.7 in February. Economists had expected the index to drop to 15.0.

by RTT Staff Writer

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