PHILADELPHIA, July 17 (UPI) -- The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said manufacturing and unemployment continued to decline in the mid-Atlantic region in July.
In a survey of businesses taken in the first half of the month, the Philadelphia Fed said its headline manufacturing index, which has been negative for 19 of the past 20 months, dropped from minus 2.2 in June to minus 7.5 in July.
Thirty-one percent of the companies responding indicated a decline in business activity, while 23 percent indicated an increase, the Fed said Thursday.
In a positive sign, new orders increased in July compared to June, climbing from minus 5.2 to minus 2.2, its highest mark in 10 months. The shipping index, however, fell 12 points, while the employment index dropped from minus 21.8 to minus 25.3.
Although the index measuring future expectations fell slightly from June, "firms are expecting improved conditions later this year," the report said. The expectation index dropped from 60.1 to 51.9 in the month.