Philly Fed factory index growth rate contracts in April

NEW YORK Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:27pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Growth in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region unexpectedly fell in April, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index dropped to 1.3 from 2.0 the month before. That was shy of economists' expectations for 3.0, according to a Reuters poll.

Any reading above zero indicates expansion in the region's manufacturing. The survey covers factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.

It is seen as one of the first monthly indicators of the health of manufacturing leading up to the national report by the Institute for Supply Management.

New orders fell to -1.0 from 0.5 in the previous month. The employment components also worsened, with the gauge of the number of employees falling to -6.8 from 2.7.

Survey respondents' view on the coming months also deteriorated up with the gauge of business conditions for the next six months falling to 19.5 from 32.5.

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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