A report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Thursday unexpectedly showed a faster rate of growth in regional manufacturing activity in the month of February.
The Philly Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity climbed to 25.8 in February from 22.2 in January, with a positive reading indicating growth. Economists had expected the index to drop to 21.1.
The unexpected increase by the headline index was partly due to a significant acceleration in new orders growth, as the new orders index surged up to 24.5 in February from 10.1 in January.
The number of employees index also jumped to 25.1 in February from 16.8 in January, suggesting a pickup in hiring.
On the other hand, the shipments index slumped to 15.5 in February from 30.3 in January, indicating a slowdown in the pace of growth.
The Philly Fed noted price increases for inputs were more widespread, with the prices paid index climbing to 45.0 in February from 32.9 in January. The prices received index dipped to 23.9 from 25.1.
The diffusion index for future general activity edged down to 41.2 in February from 42.2 in January, although the survey’s future indexes suggest continued optimism.