Growth in the Philadelphia manufacturing sector slowed in the month of March, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Thursday.
The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current general activity fell to 22.3 in March from 25.8 in February, although a positive reading still indicates growth in the manufacturing sector. Economists had expected the index to drop to 23.0.
The bigger than expected decrease by the headline index came despite increases by both the new orders and shipments indexes.
The new orders index climbed to 35.7 in March from 24.5 in February, while the shipments index jumped to 32.4 from 15.5.
The report said the number of employees index also inched up to 25.6 in March from 25.2 in February, indicating a slight acceleration in the pace of job growth in the sector.
On the inflation front, the prices paid index dipped to 42.6 in March from 45.0 in February and the prices received index fell to 20.7 from 23.9.
The Philly Fed said the diffusion index for future general activity increased to 47.9 in March from 41.2 in February, as firms remained optimistic.