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Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index tops expectations in January

General business activity in the Third Federal Reserve District's manufacturing sector posted a better-than-expected rebound in January following a decline in the previous month, according to new survey data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

The index for current manufacturing activity jumped to 17.0 this month from an upwardly revised 2.4 in December 2019, the Philadelphia Fed's Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey showed.

The consensus estimate of economists polled by Econoday was for an index reading of 3.0 in January.

The index for current new orders climbed month over month to 18.2 from a revised 11.1, and the shipments index advanced to 23.4 from a revised 15.7.

Unfilled orders declined to an index reading of negative 3.7 from a revised reading of positive 8.6, while the employment index rose to 19.3 from a revised 16.8.

The diffusion index for future general activity advanced to 38.4 from a revised 34.8, suggesting companies' continued optimism about growth for the next six months.

The Third Federal Reserve District covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and all of Delaware.