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Manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region fell slightly in July, according to firms responding to this month's Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey. Although the indicator for current general activity turned negative, indicators for new orders and shipments were positive. Employment was flat at the reporting firms this month. Firms reported higher prices paid for materials and other inputs in July, but prices received for manufactured goods were relatively steady. The survey's index of future activity improved slightly, and firms expect growth in new orders and shipments over the next six months.
The survey's broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, fell from 4.7 in June to -2.9 this month. For nine of the past 11 months, this diffusion index has been negative (see Chart 1). Twenty-two percent of the firms reported an increase in activity, 3 points lower than last month, and the percent of firms that reported decreases rose from 20 to 25. Fifty-one percent of the firms reported steady activity this month, similar to the share that reported steady activity last month.
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