Thursday, February 21, 2008


Philly Fed index down.

Contraction in U.S. Mid-Atlantic factory production accelerated in February as manufacturers pulled back in anticipation of an economic downturn, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve.

The regional central bank said Thursday its business activity index stood at minus 24.0 this month, down from an already weak minus 20.9 in January, which had been its worst reading since the 2001 recession, and well below forecasts.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a reading of minus 11.0. Readings below zero represent contraction in the industrial sector.

And new jobless claims, while not extremely high, are still at a higher level than they had been. And the total number of people receiving unemployment benefits is going up.

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The number of Americans receiving unemployment insurance climbed to the highest since October 2005 as faltering economic growth prompted companies to cut payrolls.

The number of people continuing to collect benefits rose to 2.784 million in the week ended Feb. 9, from 2.736 million a week earlier, the Labor Department said today in Washington. First-time jobless claims decreased by 9,000 to 349,000 in the week ended Feb. 16, from a revised 358,000 a week earlier.