Philly Fed Index Highest Since 1984
The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, increased from 35.9 in February to 43.4 this month (see Chart). This is the highest reading since January 1984. The demand for manufactured goods is showing continued strength: The new orders index increased 17 points this month, the sixth consecutive monthly increase. The shipments index was little changed this month and remains at a high level. Firms also reported that unfilled orders and delivery times rose again this month. Twice as many firms reported increases in inventories this month (24 percent) than reported decreases (12 percent). And the current inventory index has now been positive for three consecutive months and is at its highest reading in four years.
These are very bullish numbers and well above expectations which were for the index to fall to 30.0. That was just from the current situation. The outlook appears to be doing quite well too:
The future general activity index increased 16 points, to a reading of 63.0, its highest reading since February 1993 (see Chart). The indexes for future new orders and shipments also improved, increasing 18 and 8 points, respectively. Continuing to reflect optimism about employment expansion in the manufacturing sector, the future employment index increased 6 points. More firms expect to increase employment over the next six months (33 percent) than expect to decrease employment (2 percent).