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Manufacturing Survey Indicators Improve Slightly

For release: December 19, 2002
Contact: Kathy Woodbury, (215) 574-4119

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia today released its Business Outlook Survey for December. Growth in the region's manufacturing sector remains sluggish, according to firms polled for the survey. Overall manufacturing conditions in the region increased modestly this month, although not all indicators improved. Survey participants were asked about their plans for employment in 2003.

Philadelphia Federal Reserve Senior Economic Analyst Mike Trebing summarized the survey:

"The Business Outlook Survey's general activity index increased slightly from its reading in November. Indexes for new orders and shipments, which fell back from their levels in November, suggest that business conditions remain sluggish. Indicators reflecting the outlook for the next six months remain optimistic, although employment expectations were less positive this month. In response to supplemental questions, almost half of the firms expect to increase employment next year; however, most of those firms report that they will wait at least until the second quarter to add workers."

This survey, which was started in 1968, gathers information on the manufacturing industry in the Third Federal Reserve District covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. Participation in the survey is limited to manufacturing firms with plants in the area with more than 100 employees. The survey asks about the current pace of business in the participants' plants and their future expectations of business.

To arrange an interview, please contact Kathy Woodbury, the Bank's assistant media representative, at (215) 574-4119. The next Business Outlook Survey will be released Jan. 16, 2003, at noon and will be made available on our web site at www.philadelphiafed.org and over PR Newswire. The 2003 Business Outlook Survey release schedule is now available at: http://www.philadelphiafed.org/research-and-data/regional-economy/business-outlook-survey/bosschedule.html. The survey's annual historical revisions will be released on January 13, 2003, at noon E.T. The information will be made available at: http://www.philadelphiafed.org/research-and-data/regional-economy/business-outlook-survey/historical-data/.

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Marilyn Wimp, ABC E-mail
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(215) 574-4197
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Daneil Mazone E-mail
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(215) 574-7163
(267) 535-1808 (cell)