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Firms Continue to See Signs of Growth

For release: 10 a.m., March 18, 2010
Contact: Katherine Dibling, E-mail senior media representative, (215) 574-4119

Philadelphia, Pa. - The region's manufacturing sector is continuing to show signs of growth, according to firms polled for this month's Business Outlook Survey. Indexes for general activity, new orders, shipments, and employment all remained positive this month. The general activity index increased from a reading of 17.6 in February to 18.9 this month.

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

"Indicators from the March Business Outlook Survey suggest that conditions continued to improve in the region's manufacturing sector. Although indicators for new orders and shipments moderated from February, all of the broad indicators remained positive. Indicative of improvement, the overall level of employment and average work hours among reporting firms also increased this month. Firms expect continued growth over the next six months, and nearly half indicated that they expect their rate of production to accelerate during the second quarter."

In this month's special questions, 30 percent of the participants who answered these questions said they expect production to increase more than 5 percent in the second quarter compared with the first quarter. The average firm expects production to increase by 1.8 percent in the second quarter. Almost 40 percent of the firms said the expected changes were due to a change in business conditions rather than seasonal factors.

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, contact Katherine Q. Dibling, E-mail the Bank's senior media representative, at (215) 574-4119. The next Business Outlook Survey will be released at 10 a.m., Thursday, April 15, 2010, and will be made available on our website, and over Businesswire. External Link The aggregate historical data series is also available on the Bank's website.

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