By Ed Frankl

Factory activity in the Philadelphia area expanded for a third-straight month, and at a faster pace, suggesting a sustained uptick in the sector.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's index for current general activity jumped to 15.5 in April, it said Thursday, from 3.2 in March, above expectations that the index would edge down to 2.5, according to economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

The Philadelphia Fed survey polls manufacturers in the Third Federal Reserve District, which covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.

Indexes for new orders and shipments jumped on month, although components for jobs slipped, indicating an overall decline in employment.

Almost 38% of the firms surveyed reported increases in general activity this month, while 22% reported decreases, the Philadelphia Fed said. Almost half of firms expect activity to pick up in the next six months, while around 10% expect it to fall.

However, inflationary pressures are still being felt, with the index for prices paid jumping on month. It comes after hotter-than-expected inflation readings in the U.S. in the last few months.

Write to Ed Frankl at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-18-24 0905ET