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Manufacturing Survey Indicators Improving

For release: January 16, 2003
Contact: Kathy Woodbury, (215) 574-4119

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia today released its Business Outlook Survey for January. Activity in the region's manufacturing sector is showing improvement. Most indicators have improved over the last two months; however, the employment index continues to be negative. Survey participants were asked about their current capacity utilization rate.

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

"The region's manufacturing sector continues to show improvement this month. Firms report an increase in general activity and new orders and a notable increase in shipments compared with December. Despite the improvement in output, demand for labor continues to be weak, and more firms reported declines in employment than reported increases again this month. Although manufacturing executives' expectations for the next six months showed some deterioration, they remain optimistic about further improvements over the first half of the year."

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 Feb. 20, 2003, at noon and will be made available on this web site and over PR Newswire. The aggregate historical data series is also available at http://www.philadelphiafed.org/econ/bos/boshistory.html.

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Media Contacts

Marilyn Wimp, ABC E-mail
Manager of Media Relations
(215) 574-4197
(267) 254-4555 (cell)

Katherine Q. Dibling E-mail
Public Affairs Specialist
(215) 574-4119
(215) 694-5125 (cell)

Daneil Mazone E-mail
Media Relations Representative
(215) 574-7163
(267) 535-1808 (cell)