Moderate expansion of manufacturing in Phila. area

Manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region expanded in January and more companies reported improving conditions in the labor market.

The widely watched Business Outlook Survey of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said the percentage of firms noting an increase in employment was higher than that for firms reporting a decrease -- 21 percent vs. 10 percent.

Still, "moderate" is the word the Philly Fed used for the pace of the expansion of the region's manufacturing sector.

Looking out six months, the future general activity index for January is at its highest level in 10 months and has risen for five consecutive months.