Philadelphia-area manufacturers are reporting virtually no growth in February, and plant managers have curtailed employee hours, according to the results of a monthly survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

The results were released yesterday.

The broadest measure of manufacturing activity in the region fell to 0.6 in February, according to the Philadelphia Fed's survey. A reading below zero indicates the sector is contracting. Ninety-five Philadelphia-area manufacturers participated in the February survey.

The nation also is struggling with a weak industrial sector. Industrial output fell in January by the largest amount in 17 months, partly because of cutbacks at auto factories, the Federal Reserve said in a separate report yesterday.

The Philadelphia survey indicated that inflationary pressures were easing and that companies were seeking to export more products overseas because of the weaker dollar.

Contact staff writer Bob Fernandez

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