The Philadelphia Fed's index of business conditions increased to a reading of 8.3 in August, above the 5.7 reading in July. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the index to rise to 7.0. Readings on the Philly Fed index this year have been weaker than strong numbers seen last fall. In August, the bank's employment index rebounded to 5.3 after falling into negative territory in July for the first time since January. The index for new orders slipped to 5.8 in August from 7.1 in the prior month. The Philly Fed survey contradicted a similar report by the New York Fed. That index, known as the Empire State index, fell sharply in August to negative 14.9, the lowest reading since June 2009.
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