Factory activity in the Philadelphia region slips in July after climbing in June

Energy Associated Press

Manufacturing growth in the Philadelphia region fell in July, a sign that factories are struggling to contribute much to the expanding U.S. economy.

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The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia says that its index of factory activity fell to 5.7 in July from 15.2 the previous month. Any reading above zero indicates that manufacturing is expanding.

The index has been stuck in single digits for all but one month this year. That compares with a recent high of 40.2 in November.

Measures of new orders and shipments fell, yet remained positive. Measures for employment and inventories dropped below zero, a sign of contraction. Still, manufacturers were slightly more optimistic about growth over the next six months.

The survey covers manufacturing in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.