Philadelphia Fed Index Improves, But Misses Estimates

A gauge of factory activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region contracted for a second month in a row in September, but the rate of decline moderated from a steep drop the month before, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index improved to minus 17.5 from minus 30.7 in August. That still missed economists' expectations for minus 15.0, according to a Reuters poll.

Any reading below zero indicates contraction in the region's manufacturing. The survey covers factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.

It is seen as one of the first monthly indicators of the health of U.S. manufacturing leading up to the national report by the Institute for Supply Management.