Weather takes toll on area factories
Severe winter weather took a toll on factories in the Philadelphia region in recent weeks, pushing the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's manufacturing index downward for the first time in nine months.
Despite the weak numbers, many of the survey's indicators of factory executives' expectations for the future improved, the bank said.
The unexpected February reversal "was mostly attributable to the winter storms that blanketed much of the region during the first few weeks of the month," the bank said in a statement.
The survey's broadest measure of manufacturing conditions fell from a reading of 9.4 in January to minus 6.3 for February. Positive numbers mean point to economic growth, negative number to shrinkage. General activity, new orders, and shipments were down, and though firms continued to add to their payrolls, average work hours fell, the regional Fed bank said.
The Philly Fed region covers Eastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and the state of Delaware.
- Reid Kanaley