Survey Shows Weakness in Manufacturing Industry
A new business survey for the South Jersey/Philadelphia region shows mixed opinions about its short-term economic outlook.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's February survey finds a mixed bag of opinions about the region and where manufacturing is going in the next six months. It is a monthly survey that the bank has been doing for almost 50 years, consisting of a panel of manufacturing executives from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve District, comprised of South Jersey and much of Pennsylvania and Delaware.
"We are having another month of weak activity in February," said Mike Trebing, senior economic analyst for The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. "We have had negative readings on most of these broad indicators for about six months. Not as weak as we had in prior months, but overall weakness in the sector, which we know has been one of the weak areas of the economy, the manufacturing sector."
Over the last year in manufacturing, a lot of U.S. companies have been affected by the strength of the dollar, which has made their price of exports higher. The fallout from the energy markets has also been problematic.
Trebing says most of the broad indicators of performance, general activity orders and employment are more negative now, but there is some good news.
"We are continuing to see more firms expecting continued growth than are expecting decline," he said.
Trebing also said manufacturers are seeing continuing pressure to lower prices.
"The other side of the coin of the strength of the dollar is that their, (manufacturers) purchased inputs and overseas markets has gone down. There has been price pressure on the downside on the prices that they are paying, but also on the prices that they are receiving for their goods," Trebing said.
Trebing says overall, this latest report is, "still a positive reading," even though expectations have deteriorated somewhat.