Philly Fed manufacturing falls back into the red

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Manufacturing activity in Philadelphia is back in the red.

The Philly Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index came in at -1.6 for April, as businesses reported no improvement in conditions.

Economists had forecast that it fell to 9 from a prior reading of 12.4. The March print was the first positive reading in seven months.

“In one line: Startlingly terrible, almost to the point of implausibility,” said Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Ian Shepherdson in a note.

“These numbers are all so bad that we’re struggling to take them seriously, given the clear improvement in other recent industrial surveys [like the Empire Fed manufacturing survey],” he said.

The indexes for new orders and shipments fell, along with the gauge of employment. The index that measures average working hours fell considerably, by 22 points.

In this month’s special question, businesses were asked about their spending on security and regulatory compliance. Sixty per cent of firms said they were spending more on cybersecurity. And, 74% reported higher spending to meet regulations.

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