The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that manufacturing activity continued to expand strongly in November, even with some easing in the latest survey.
The composite index of general business activity decreased from 27.9 in October to 22.7 in November. Overall, manufacturers in the district are more upbeat this year than last, with the headline index averaging 27.4 year-to-date in 2017 versus 4.8 for 2016 as a whole.
Similar to the New York Fed release yesterday, new orders (up from 19.6 to 21.4) accelerated in November, but other measures decelerated somewhat, while also remaining quite positive. This included some slowing for shipments (down from 24.4 to 21.7), employment (down from 30.6 to 22.6) and the average workweek (down from 19.4 to 13.7).
Meanwhile, manufacturers in the Philadelphia Fed region remained very optimistic about the next six months. The forward-looking composite index increased from 46.4 to 50.1, and more than 60 percent of respondents felt that new orders would rise in the coming months. Most of the key future-oriented indicators were higher in this survey, including new orders (up from 43.7 to 56.4), shipments (up from 45.3 to 47.8), employment (up from 41.1 to 45.0) and the average workweek (up from 38.7 to 41.2).
The hiring measure for employment was the highest since March 1989. Capital expenditures (down from 37.7 to 36.7) and pricing pressures (down from 60.2 to 54.0) were also seen expanding robustly over the next six months despite slight pullbacks in those measures.