Thursday, January 17, 2008

More Bad News

Philly Fed index.

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region contracted more than forecast in January to a six-year low, adding to evidence factories are throttling back as the economy slows.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's general economic index declined to minus 20.9, the lowest reading since October 2001, from minus 1.6 in December, the bank said today. Negative readings signal contraction. The index averaged 5.1 in 2007.

The figures indicate that the housing recession, entering its third year, is dragging down other industries. At the same time, a weaker dollar and stronger growth abroad are boosting demand for U.S. exports, keeping factory output from collapsing.

This is a regional index, but one of the two, along with Chicago's, which is considered to be a good predictor of national trends.