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NEW YORK, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region expanded in August to its highest level since March 2011, a survey showed on Thursday.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index rose to 28.0 from 23.9 the month before. That topped economists’ expectations for a reading of 19.2, 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 U.S. manufacturing leading up to the national report by the Institute for Supply Management.
Expectations of future activity were also strong, with the six-month conditions index rising to its highest since June 1992.
The other details of the report, however, were not as robust.
New orders dropped to 14.7, from 34.2 last month, while the employment index fell to 9.1 from 12.2. But the percentage of firms reporting increases in employment exceeded companies that are cutting jobs, which is a positive sign. The workweek index was also positive for a sixth consecutive month.
“Overall, while the headline was strong, the sub-indexes were softer, and therefore the market’s response has been somewhat muted,” said Ian Lyngen, senior government bond analyst at CRt Capital in Stamford, Connecticut. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Chizu Nomiyama)