Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity unexpectedly saw a modestly faster rate of growth in the month of April, 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 inched up to 23.2 in April from 22.3 in March, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to dip to 20.1.
The modest uptick by the headline index was partly due to stronger job growth, as the number of employees index rose to 27.1 in April from 25.6 in March.
On the other hand, the new orders tumbled to 18.4 in April from 35.7 in March and the shipments index slid to 23.9 from 32.4.
The report also said the prices received index climbed to 29.8 in April from 20.7 in March, while the prices paid index jumped to 56.4 from 42.6.
Looking ahead, the Philly Fed said the survey’s future indexes, measuring expectations for the next six months, reflected continued optimism.
The diffusion index for future general activity decreased to 40.7 in April from 47.9 in March but remained at an elevated level.
On Monday, the New York Fed released a separate report showing a notably slower pace of growth in New York manufacturing activity in the month of April.
The New York Fed said its general business conditions index fell to 15.8 in April from 22.5 in March. Economists had expected the index to drop to 18.6.