Given the overall weakness in the manufacturing sector recently, one would think that a positive manufacturing report would be a near impossibility these days. That’s exactly what we got this morning, though, with the November release of the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing report. While economists were forecasting the headline index for General Business conditions to come in at a level of -0.5, the actual reading came in at 1.9, which is the best reading since August. The table to the right breaks down this month’s report by each of its subcomponents. While the majority of components are still in negative territory this month, all but three of them showed m/m increases. The biggest gains this month came in Unfilled Orders and Inventories while the largest decline was in the Average Workweek.
In the case of Average Workweek, this month’s decline was a big one. At a level of -16.2, the November reading is now at its lowest level since June 2012 (-16.4), making this the second lowest reading of the economic expansion. It is also the fourth largest two-month decline in this component going all the way back to 1981.