Manufacturers growing at weaker pace in Philadelphia area for third straight month

Manufacturers in the Philadelphia area expanded at a slower rate in February compared with the previous month. New orders have dipped, although shipments and hiring have improved.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia says its index of regional factory activity fell to 5.2 this month from 6.3 in January. Any figure above zero indicates expansion.

The index has tumbled for three straight months, after reaching the highest point in more than two decades in November. It follows a similar survey from the New York Fed that also found slower factory growth.

Still, most Philly-area factories expect strong demand over the next six months. The survey covers manufacturing in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.