Manufacturers in the Philadelphia region reported a second straight month of declines in output and new orders, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's February Business Outlook Survey.
"Following reported growth in late 2012, indicators for general activity and new orders have now registered negative readings for the past two months," the Philadelphia Fed said in a news release.
However, while the survey's overall measure of manufacturing activity was down, the region's employment index turned positive for the first time in eight months, and the shipments index edged slightly higher.
"The survey's future indicators suggest that firms expect recent declines to be temporary," the Philadelphia Fed noted.
Here are the numbers:
- The survey's broadest measure of manufacturing conditions — the diffusion index of current activity — dropped from minus 5.8 in January to minus 12.5 in February.
- The demand for manufactured goods — the new-orders index — declined from minus 4.3 in January to minus 7.8 in February.
- The shipments index remained positive and inched higher to 2.4. Some 25 percent of manufacturers reported increases in shipments, compared with 22 percent reporting declines in shipments.
- Labor-market conditions showed signs of stabilizing. The employment index increased from minus 5.2 in January to 0.9 this month, its first positive reading in eight months.
The survey's price indexes "suggest continued moderation in price pressures this month," as the prices-received index was negative for the second consecutive month.
Meanwhile, fewer manufacturers reported that they are paying higher prices for raw materials.
The prices-paid index fell for the third consecutive month and, at 8.9, is at its lowest reading in eight months.
Looking ahead, the future general-activity index increased from a reading of 29.2 to 32.1, its third consecutive monthly increase.
Forty-seven percent of manufacturers responding to the survey said they expect manufacturing activity to increase over the next six months, compared with 15 percent expecting activity to decline.