Bellwether Study Finds More Signs of Shrinking Manufacturing Sector Optimism

A regional study tracking manufacturing activity indicators in the Mid-Atlantic that is often used to predict future conditions for the national picture took a surprising and sharp tumble in June, adding to recent concerns for the previously strong sector.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s Business Outlook Survey fell to its lowest reading in 31 months (down to a level of -7.7 from 3.9 just one month ago) on concerns over labor markets as well as costs of transportation in the form of surcharges, commodity price-hikes and energy bills. Only 14% of those polls reported employment increases or a need for them in the near future.

The findings are not surprising following the Federal Reserve’s national picture painted by Beige Book earlier this month. The study found in most of its 12 districts that the economy was still growing, but the pace of what was already small growth has fallen off dramatically, partly on the inability of the manufacturing sector to carry other categories as it has been doing.

NACM’s breakdown of all 12 Federal Reserve districts in the latest Beige Book is available by clicking

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here.

Brian Shappell, NACM Staff Writer

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