The numbers: The Philadelphia Federal Reserve said Thursday its gaugeof regional business activity rose to 6.2 in August from negative 12.3 in the prior month. Any reading above zero indicates improving conditions.
Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal expected a negative 0.5 reading.
Key details: The index for new orders climbed 20 points but remained at negative 5.1 in August. The shipments index rose 10 points to 24.8.
Prices moderated for the fourth month but the index continues to indicate price increases.
On balance, firms reported an increase in employment.
Big picture: The Philadelphia Fed index is one of several regional manufacturing gauges that offer timely reads of the manufacturing sector.
Earlier this week, the similar Empire State survey released by the New York Fed showed manufacturing activity worsened significantly, with the business conditions index plunging 42.4 points to negative 31.1 in July, the fifth lowest reading on record.