NEW YORK, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region weakened in August after hitting a multi-year high the prior month as new orders fell and the pace of hiring slowed, a survey showed on Thursday.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index fell to 9.3 from 19.8 in July, undershooting economists’ expectations for a reading of 15.0.
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 fell to 5.3 from 10.2, while employment slipped to 3.5 from 7.7. Prices paid slipped to 17.3 from 21.5.
The survey is 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 relinquished gains against the yen after the data while stocks, which fell more than 1 percent earlier in the session, remained lower.
Manufacturing in the United States has softened in recent months, hurt by falling overseas demand, though the latest ISM report showed the sector gained momentum in July, with a surge in domestic demand helping to make up the slack.
ISM will release its August manufacturing report on Sept. 3.
The Philadelphia Fed survey showed respondents’ remained optimistic about the coming six months, with nearly 53 percent of firms expecting increases in activity over that time.