It was not a good month for manufacturing in the region that includes South Jersey, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. While some indicators in the December Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey were up, the key general activity index fell into negative territory, the Fed reported.The Fed reported that most indicators of current activity were down this month, as its index posted its third negative reading in fourth months, reversing November’s positive mark. In addition, the index for current new orders fell, remaining in negative territory, and there was an additional decline in unfilled orders, with that index also slipping into the negative numbers.
On the bright side, both the current shipments index and the current inventories index achieved positive marks.
When it comes to the labor market, the news was better, as indicators for employment were generally stronger in the Fed’s survey. The employment index rose, as more firms reported increased work forces than decreased ones, and work hours also increased this month.
The current prices index also fell, as more firms reported lower prices than higher ones; most firms reported no change. However, the prices paid for inputs also fell, as that index stayed in negative territory.
Finally, the index of future activity slid to its lowest rating since November 2012.