Manufacturing activity expands at much weaker pace in Philly area; hiring declines

Associated Press

Factories in the Philadelphia region grew at a much slower pace in January compared with the previous month, as orders, shipments and hiring tumbled.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia says its index of regional factory activity fell to 6.3 this month from 24.3 in December. Any figure above zero indicates expansion.

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The index has fallen sharply for two months, after reaching the highest point in more than two decades in November. It comes after a similar survey from the New York Fed found that factory growth picked up.

On a brighter note, most Philly-area factories were optimistic about future demand. And 63 percent said that falling oil prices are helping their businesses by lowering their costs of production.

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