Eastern U.S. Business/Manufacturing Reels From Fallout of Sandy, Latest Data Shows

November 15, 2012 12:02 PM EST
U.S. markets are lower on the session following new manufacturing data out of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

The Philly Fed general economic index fell to a negative 10.7 in November, from positive 5.7 the prior month and expectations of a flat reading. The Philly Fed's activity reading covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.

The fallback of the general activity index followed a single positive reading in October that was preceded by five negative monthly readings," commented the Philly Fed.

November's employment index improved from a negative 10.7 in October down to negative 6.8. The prices paid index increased from 19.0 to 27.9, but the increase was attributable to fewer firms reporting lower prices rather than more firms reporting price increases.

Overall, the Philly Fed summed it up: "The November Business Outlook Survey suggests that activity in the region’s manufacturing sector fell back this month. Firms reported declines in overall activity, new orders, shipments, and employment. But the influence of the recent storm in terms of lost production in the short run and reduced activity for longer periods was evident in firms’ responses to questions about the storm’s impact on business activity."

Earlier in the session, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index came in at negative 5.2 for the month, up from negative 6.2 reported in October. The region covered by the NY Fed includes New York, northern New Jersey, and south Connecticut. Consensus estimates called for a reading of negative 8.5 in November.

The NY Fed noted: "In a series of supplementary questions, fi rms were asked about the extent to which their businesses were affected by the “superstorm” Sandy. Among firms based in upstate New York, only 21 percent reported any loss of activity due to the storm—and in most cases, for no more than one day. However, 100 percent of firms in the New York City area reported some reduction in activity. The most widely cited factors contributing to a reduction in business activity were loss of power and loss of communications—reported as major factors by more than 70 percent of downstate businesses."

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