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Philadelphia Fed’s survey finds growing optimism among manufacturers

The monthly survey of regional manufacturing firms by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, which includes southern New Jersey, in September continued its upbeat trend, as more employers forecast they will be hiring workers over the next six months.Michael Trebing, senior economic analyst for the bank, said the September survey found that nearly 44 percent of the firms expect growth in their employment levels over the next six months, compared with 37 percent who in August were predicting future hiring.

The survey asked the firms to estimate their total production growth for the third quarter, and the firms anticipating increases in third-quarter production (59 percent) exceeded those anticipating decreases (29 percent). The firms expect average production growth of 2 percent in the third quarter.

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, the percentage of firms forecasting acceleration in the rate of their production growth (54 percent) was greater than the percentage forecasting deceleration in growth (21 percent).

“The regional survey’s broad indicators were all positive this month,” Trebing said. “Most indicative of the optimism was the notable increase in firms’ hiring plans for the next six months.”

Trebing said the survey also receives comments from respondents and “We’re getting comments that demand has picked up, and many of these firms are at the point where they have to hire additional workers to accommodate the increased production.”

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