The Philadelphia Federal Reserve released its Business Outlook Survey for March on Thursday at 10:00 am EST. The report confirms that the labor market is stabilizing, although it also reports nascent inflationary pressures for manufacturers.
The index of current activity, which measures business conditions for manufacturers in the Philadelphia region, increased to 18.9 from 17.6 in February, in line with the forecasts of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
This marks the seventh consecutive month of growth in manufacturing of that region, as a positive reading indicates expansion.
The report also showed that for the fourth consecutive month, firms that reported increased employment outnumber the firms that reported a decrease.
Firms' responses continued to suggest that labor market conditions have been stabilizing in recent months, stated the report.
This echoes the results of recent U.S. unemployment data and the general consensus of economists; although hiring remains constrained, the labor market has at least stabilized and conditions are unlikely to noticeably deteriorate.
However, the report stated that the surveyed firms have reported higher input costs for the past six months while the prices of their finished goods have remained steady.
This suggests that while manufacturers are beginning to face mild inflationary pressures, end users are still insulated by weak private spending.