Recent Updates

  • New Zealand: Commodity Price Index (Sep)
  • Australia: Performance of Construction Index (Sep)
  • Australia: PCI by State (Sep)
  • Korea: International Reserves (Sep)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

Philadelphia Fed Index of Nonmanufacturing Business Activity Eases; Expectations Improve
by Tom Moeller  September 20, 2016

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported that its September Index of Nonmanufacturing Sector Activity at the company level declined to 16.7, the lowest level since July 2015. It remained down sharply versus 53.9 in February 2015. Future improvement may be coming, however, as the expectations index for general activity rose to 52.7, its highest level since November. These diffusion indexes are seasonally adjusted.

Lower new orders and lower shipments readings, as well as a weaker part time employment index, prompted the deterioration in this month's figure. Wage & benefit costs eased to the lowest level in three months. Capital expenditures on equipment and software also fell sharply. The average workweek was fairly stable. Strengthening were the readings for full time employment, as well as prices paid, unfilled orders and inventories.

The reading for general activity in the region eased to the lowest level in three months, but remained up sharply from levels early this year.

The expectations reading at the company level improved to the highest point since April. Expectations for the region rose modestly, up moderately from early this year.

The Philadelphia Fed figures are diffusion indexes which are calculated by subtracting the percent of respondents reporting poorer business conditions from those reporting improvement. Thus, they have a good correlation with growth in the series covered. The data is available in Haver's SURVEYS database.

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia: Nonmanufacturing Business Outlook Survey (Diffusion Index, SA) Sep Aug Jul Sep'15 2015 2014 2013
General Activity - Company 16.7 19.5 20.3 28.3 31.4 38.8 29.8
  New Orders 10.6 14.7 29.6 22.1 21.7 27.9 20.2
  Sales or Revenue 11.1 22.5 22.2 33.4 23.6 30.2 27.0
  Inventories -1.1 -4.2 6.7 3.5 5.2 5.8 3.0
  Number of Full-Time Permanent Employees 19.3 10.0 1.9 10.2 15.6 17.3 18.8
  Prices Paid 29.9 10.6 23.3 20.1 19.3 19.7 20.6
Expected General Activity - Company 52.7 43.7 46.3 60.0 54.0 60.1 47.4
large image