Manufacturing contracted again in June in the Philadelphia region, but at the slowest pace in nine months, according to a widely watched index released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

The broadest measure in the Philly Fed's Business Outlook Survey for May climbed to minus 2.2, from minus 22.6. It was the highest reading since September. Bloomberg News said the change was better than anticipated, though the negative number still signals contraction.

The survey reported "notable improvement" in general activity, new orders, and shipments.

"Indicative of ongoing weakness, however, firms reported sustained declines in employment and work hours this month," the bank said in a statement.    - Inquirer Staff