Factory activity in the Philadelphia region grew at a slightly slower pace in May

Associated Press

Manufacturing growth in the Philadelphia region slowed a bit in May, a sign the U.S. economy is barely improving after an anemic start to the year.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia says that its index of factory activity slipped to 6.7 in May from 7.5 the previous month. Any reading above zero indicates that manufacturing is expanding.

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Still, the index has been stuck in single digits for the first five months of this year. That compares with a recent high of 40.2 in November.

Measures of new orders and shipments increased but remained at low levels. A gauge of employment fell. Manufacturers are adding jobs, but at a slower pace than the previous month.

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