Results from the Philadelphia Fed’s March Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey suggest continued growth for the region’s manufacturing sector. Although the survey’s index for general activity moderated, the indexes for new orders and shipments improved. The survey’s future indexes, measuring expectations for the next six months, reflected continued optimism.
The diffusion index for current general activity remained positive but declined, from 25.8 in February to 22.3 this month (see Chart 1). Nearly 37% of the manufacturers reported increases in overall activity this month, while 14% reported decreases. The indexes for current new orders and shipments recorded notable improvements this month. The current new orders index increased 11 points, with 52% of the firms reporting an increase in new orders.