Manufacturing Activity Declines, Jobless Claim
Manufacturing Activity Declines
Manufacturing activity dropped from the prior-month period in the first half of September, according to a regional business survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The regional Fed covers business activity in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Results released Thursday from the Fed’s Sept. 6-13 survey of companies showed overall business activity trending downward for the month, with new orders down 13% and shipments down 16% from the prior-month period.
The Philadelphia Fed’s monthly survey found 41% of firms reporting increases in input prices, including materials and labor. Nearly 34% of firms reported raising prices for their own goods, with just 4% lowering their prices, indicating a large number of firms may still be absorbing high costs that are not being passed on to customers.
Still, companies are predicting to finish the current third quarter with high production and capacity utilization for existing facilities. The survey found that 56% of firms expected increases in third-quarter production, with median expected capacity use at between 70% and 80%, about the same as predicted for the year-earlier quarter.
Jobless Claims Go Down
Initial claims for unemployment insurance declined 5,000 from the prior week, totaling 213,000 for the week ended Sept. 10, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week moving average declined 8,000 to 224,000 in what remains a historically strong employment climate.
The total number of continued weeks’ claims for benefits in all programs, tracked on a more delayed basis, was approximately 1.4 million for the week ended Aug. 27, down 23,420 from the prior week and well down from 12.1 million in the comparable week of 2021.
Job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported earlier this month that U.S. employers announced plans to cut approximately 180,000 jobs in the first eight months of 2022, down 27% from the year-earlier period and the lowest recorded January-August total since Challenger began tracking monthly job reduction announcements in 1993.