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Philly factory activity contracts sharply in June

Philly factory activity contracts sharply in June (by Greg Robb)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region contracted at a faster pace in June, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported Thursday. The Philly Fed diffusion index fell to negative 16.6 in June from negative 5.8 in May. This is the lowest level since August 2011. Readings below zero indicate contraction. The decrease in the index was unexpected. Economists were looking for the index to improve to 0.0. The details of the report were generally weaker except for employment data, which was mixed. The new orders index fell to negative 18.8 from negative 1.2, while the shipments index fell to negative 16.6 from 3.5. The index for number of employees improved to 1.8 in June from negative 1.3 in the prior month. The average workweek dropped to negative 19.1 from negative 5.4. Inflationary pressures eased. The prices paid index dropped to negative 2.8 from 5.0 in the prior month.