Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region expanded in July at a slower pace than expected, and a measurement of employment contracted, a survey showed on Thursday.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve said its business activity index hit 5.7 in July compared with 15.2 the month before, which was the highest level since December 2014. This month's reading fell below the analyst expectation of 12.0 according to a Reuters poll.
Any reading above zero indicates expansion 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.
The reading on new orders slipped to 7.1 in July from the June reading of 15.2, while the prices paid subindex rose to 20.2 from 17.2 in June.
The employment index fell to -0.4 from 3.8, dipping below zero for the first time since January.
The six-month capex outlook slipped to 7.7 from 8.1 the previous month.