HOUSTON, May 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Thursday reported continued improvement of regional manufacturing conditions in May based on the observation of the May Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey.
The survey, conducted by the Philadelphia Fed responsible for the Third District covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware, suggested that the region's manufacturing sector continued to grow in May.
The diffusion index for current general activity increased from 8.5 in April to 16.6 this month. Over 25 percent of the manufacturers reported increases in overall activity, while 9 percent reported decreases.
The indexes for current shipments and new orders moved in opposite directions: The current shipments index increased 9 points, while the new orders index fell 5 points. The current inventories index fell 6 points to its first negative reading in four months.
The employment diffusion index increased 4 points to 18.2, its highest reading in five months. Nearly 27 percent of the responding firms reported increases in employment, while 8 percent reported decreases this month. The average workweek index remained essentially unchanged at 10.9.
The Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey is a monthly survey of manufacturers in the Third Federal Reserve District. Participants indicate the direction of change in overall business activity and in the various measures of activity at their plants.
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks that, together with the Board of Governors based in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System.