WASHINGTON - Business among manufacturers in the Philadelphia region grew in July at a much slower pace than expected, a sign that companies are still grappling with the effects of a strong dollar that's curbed exports. Some of the decline may also reflect seasonal patterns in midsummer, when some companies such as auto makers shut down production temporarily to retool plants. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's business-conditions index fell to 5.7 this month from 15.2 in June. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the index to drop to 12.5. Still, any number above zero means more companies are expanding instead of contracting. The Philadelphia Fed reported its index for new orders declined to 7.1 from 15.2 in June. The index for employment slid to -0.4 from 3.8.
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