NEW YORK (Reuters) - Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region rebounded in June to its highest level in more than two years as new orders accelerated, a survey showed on Thursday.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index rose to 12.5 from minus 5.2 in May, far exceeding economists’ expectations for minus 2. It was the highest level since April 2011.
Any reading above zero indicates expansion in the region’s manufacturing. The survey covers factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
The new orders index jumped to 16.6 from minus 7.9, rising to its highest level since March 2011, while employment measures also improved. The average number of employees gained to minus 5.4 from minus 8.7 and the average employee workweek rose to 0.8 from minus 12.4.
Prices paid surged to 22.5 from 6.9.
The survey is seen as one of the first monthly indicators of the health of U.S. manufacturing leading up to the national report by the Institute for Supply Management.
The dollar extended gains against the yen and euro shortly after the data, while Treasuries yields edged higher, though investors were more focused on the timeline for the end of the Federal Reserve’s stimulus program that was outlined by Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday. Wall Street held losses with major indexes down about 1 percent.
The manufacturing sector has softened recently, hurt by less demand from overseas. The most recent Institute for Supply Management report showed the industry contracted in May.
In an encouraging sign for the sector’s outlook, survey respondents’ view on the coming months perked up with the gauge of business conditions for the next six months rising to 33.7 from 32.3.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama