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Philly Fed Index Indicates Significantly Faster Growth In May

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Growth in Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity has seen a significant acceleration in the month of May, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia revealed in a report on Thursday.

The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current general activity surged up to 16.6 in May after falling to 8.5 in April, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 9.0.

The jump by the headline index was partly due to a significant increase by the shipments index, which spiked to 27.6 in May from 18.4 in April.

The number of employees index also climbed to 18.2 in May from 14.7 in April, indicating a notable acceleration in the pace of job growth.

On the other hand, the new orders index tumbled to 11.0 in May from 15.7 in April, although the positive reading still indicates growth.

The report showed a mixed view of inflation, as the prices paid index rose to 23.1 in May from 21.6 in April, but the prices received index dropped to 17.5 from 20.0.

The Philly Fed said the diffusion index for future general activity inched up to 19.7 in May after falling to a three-year low of 19.1 in April.

The uptick by the index reflected an improvement in firms' forecast for future employment, with the future employment index jumping to 27.3 from 14.9.

A separate report released by the New York Fed on Wednesday said New York manufacturing activity has picked up significantly in the month of May.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index jumped to 17.8 in May from 10.1 in April, while economists had expected the index to drop to 8.5.

With the unexpected increase, the New York Fed's general business conditions index reached its highest level since November of 2018.

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