Manufacturing activity in and near Philadelphia fell more than expected in November, according to a survey conducted by the regional Federal Reserve.
Its monthly index of current activity came in at 7.6, compared to the prior’s month’s reading of 9.7.
Economists had forecast that the index dropped to 7.8.
The Philly Fed noted that the results suggest that manufacturing activity continued to modestly expand, with indexes for general activity, new orders, and shipments staying positive.
However, labour market conditions were weak. According to the report, a greater percentage of firms reported a decrease in employment (20%) than those who reported an increase (18%). Moreover, the current employment index has now been negative for 11 consecutive months.
“One sign of improvement was the average workweek index, which was positive for the first time in eight months,” the report noted.
As for the next six months, the report notes that firms remain optimistic, but less so than they were in October.