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Philly Fed Factory Activity Grows at Slower Pace in May

May 20 (Reuters) - Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region slowed down in May after hitting its highest pace in nearly half a century earlier this spring, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index fell to 31.5 from 50.2 in April. That was shy of economists’ expectations for a reading of 43.0, according to a Reuters poll.

Any reading above zero indicates expansion in the region’s manufacturing. The survey covers factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.

It is seen as 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, next due out June 1.

Factories have struggled to keep up with demand in recent months as the economy shows signs of emerging from the COVID-19 recession and consumers flush with cash from recent stimulus programs ramp up spending. In March, the Philly Fed’s factory activity gauge hit its highest level since April 1973.

The bank’s employment index decreased to 19.3 from 30.8 the previous month.

Additionally, the price paid index rose to 76.8 from 69.1 in the month prior.

(Reporting by Evan Sully Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Source: Reuters

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