Manufacturing expands at slower pace in Philadelphia region as hiring, orders fall

MarketsAssociated Press

Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region grew at a much slower pace in December compared with the previous month. But the drop came after factory activity reached its highest levels in 21 years in November.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia says its index of regional factory activity dropped to 24.5 this month from 40.8 in November. Last month's reading was the highest since December 1993. Any figure above zero indicates expansion.

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The data indicates that manufacturing is still growing at a healthy clip, despite this month's slowdown, and helping to drive a broader economic expansion. The survey found that factories are hiring, but at a much slower pace. Measures of new orders and shipments also fell.

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