) -- The pace of manufacturing activity around the Philadelphia region took a steep and disappointing step back this month, hinting at some weakness in the factory ranks despite other recent indications to the contrary.
Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank
released a report saying its index tracking manufacturing conditions in the region registered an 8 in June. In May, the index read a more robust 21.4, which was the gauge's best showing since December 2009. The fall underwhelmed Wall Street, as consensus estimates had called for a more subtle drop to 20, according to
The Philly Fed cobbles together the measure by surveying manufacturers in its district. A mark above 0 tends to support notions of expansion, while a showing below the mark hints at manufacturing contraction.
While more particular assessments tracking new orders, inventories, and delivery times on goods improved this month, measures tracking shipments and prices received took a step back.
Labor market conditions also turned negative in June for the first time in months, as individual gauges measuring employee numbers dipped to -1.5 from 3.2 in May, and the average employee workweek index slumped to -1.5 from 7. The downbeat employment news also follows a separate Labor Department report showing a surge in
first-time jobless claims last week.
Still, survey-takers remained more positive and expect growth in the future. The future general activity index ticked up to read 40.2 in June after hitting 37 last month.
Stocks came under further pressure following the report. Most recently, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was losing 85 points, or 0.8%, at 10,325, while the
was sliding 8 points, or 0.8%, at 1106.
Earlier in the week, the
New York Federal Reserve
reported improving manufacturing conditions in its region, as the Empire State Manufacturing index climbed up to 19.57 in June after reading 19.11 in May.
--Written by Sung Moss in New York