February 17, 2011 / 3:40 PM / 9 years ago

Philly Fed factory activity index jumps to 7-year high

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Factory activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region grew much more than expected in February, rising to its highest level in seven years, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index rose to 35.9 in February from 19.3 the month before. It was the highest reading since January 2004.

Economists had expected a reading of 20.9, based on the results of a Reuters poll, which ranged from 15.0 to 25.0.

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 U.S. manufacturing leading up to the national report by the Institute for Supply Management, due at the end of the month.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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