Manufacturing activity continued to grow in October, according to the monthly Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, which includes southern New JerseyThe survey also found that regional manufacturers remain optimistic about growth in business activity and employment over the next six months.
The survey did find some moderation in expectations for hiring over the next six months. In the October survey, nearly 33 percent of the firms said they expect growth in their employment levels over the next six months. In the September survey, however, 44 percent were forecasting more hiring over the next six months.
Michael Trebing, senior economic analyst for the Philadelphia Fed, said the survey’s broad indexes “were all positive again this month, indicating continued growth for the sector.”
He said indicators for general activity, shipments and employment remained positive, but not as high as in September. However, the new orders index rose in October.
Trebing said the survey reveals increased capacity utilization among the region’s manufacturers.
He said the capacity utilization rate was 78 percent in October, compared with 76.5 percent a year ago, “which is comparable to what is happening in the U.S. as well. We are getting back to capacity utilization rates that are very close to where they were before the recession.”
The survey also found manufacturers’ capital spending has picked up.
Trebing said firms are less likely to invest in expanding the physical structure of their factories and more likely to buy software, computers and equipment.
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