Regional Manufacturing Outlook Paints Bright Future

A bellwether regional report out of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank shows positive signs for growth in manufacturing for the greater region and possibly beyond.  Its monthly Business Outlook Survey found that firms reporting increased activity (36%) more than doubled firms that responded about diminished activity for the last month. The category measuring demand for manufactured goods, increased to its highest level since March 2011 (27.5, up six points). Statistics tracking manufacturer optimism also tracked upward, by three points, to a level of 60.8. That mark was last reached in 2009.

“All the broad indicators were positive, with firms reporting improvements in new orders and hiring,” The Philadelphia Fed said in its report. “Firms’ outlook [sic] has shown notable improvement in recent months, with a majority of firms now expecting to expand manufacturing activity over the next six months.” The Fed added that more than one-third of those polled in October plan to increase hiring by early 2014.

Though the overall diffusion index actual fell from a two-year high reported in September, the number (19.8) was still considered highly encouraging. In fact, the performance and outlook for manufacturing far exceeded experts’ projections.

- Brian Shappell, CBA, CICP, NACM staff writer

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