(Corrects six-month business conditions outlook figure to 11.6 from 11.5 in 8th paragraph) (Updates with details of report, market reaction)
NEW YORK, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Factory activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region jumped in November, a survey showed on Thursday, although employment fell and companies’ forecasts for the future darkened.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index was at 8.2 in November versus 6.8 in October. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a reading of 5.0.
Any reading above zero indicates growth in manufacturing in factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
“It appears as if manufacturing is attempting to hold its own in the final months of 2007. There’s no evidence yet in the diffusion indices of outright contraction in factory activity,” said William Sullivan, chief economist at JVB Financial Group in Boca Raton, Florida.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI briefly turned positive after the report but the broader stock market remained little changed. U.S. Treasury debt prices US10YT=RR were steady at higher levels.
The Philadelphia Fed’s employment index fell sharply to 4.8 in November, its lowest in four months, from 12.6 in October.
Prices paid eased slightly to 37.7 from 40.3 in October, while the new orders index edged up to 3.5 from 2.7.
The six-month business conditions outlook, however, tumbled to 11.6 from 41.5 in October, while the six-month capital expenditures outlook fell to 7.1 from 20.5 last month.
The Philly Fed said firms were also less optimistic about future employment.
“It suggests that we’re perhaps developing the risk that business investment is going to be less supportive of the economy next year than what we originally thought,” Sullivan of JVB Financial Group said. (Reporting by Steven C. Johnson; Editing by James Dalgleish)