Philly Fed Index Unexpectedly Indicates Faster Growth In April

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A report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Thursday showed an unexpected acceleration in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity in the month of April.

The Philly Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity rose to 50.2 in April from a downwardly revised 44.5 in March, with a positive reading indicating growth.

The increase surprised economists, who had expected the index to drop to 42.0 from the 51.8 originally reported for the previous month.

With the unexpected increase, the Philly Fed's manufacturing index reached its highest level since hitting 53.6 in April of 1973.

The report showed an acceleration in the pace of job growth, as the number of employees index rose to a record high 30.8 in April from 27.4 in March.

The shipments index also climbed to 25.3 in April from 22.0 in March, although the new orders index dipped to 36.0 in April from 38.2 in March.

Meanwhile, the Philly Fed said the prices paid index fell to 69.1 in April after reaching a 40-year high of 72.6 in March.

The prices received index increased to 34.5 in April from 30.2 in March, as firms reported overall increases in prices for their own manufactured goods

Looking ahead, the diffusion index for future general activity climbed to 66.6 in April from 59.1 in March, reaching its highest reading since October 1991.

A separate report released by the New York Federal Reserve showed New York manufacturing activity grew strongly in the month of April.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index climbed to 26.3 in April from 17.4 in March. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 19.5.

With the much bigger than expected increase, the general business conditions index reached its highest level since hitting 26.6 in October of 2017.

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