Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region showed continuing improvement this month, with measures for general activity, new orders, shipments, and employment all suggesting year-end growth, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said Thursday.

It was the third straight month of growth in the much-watched survey results. In addition, the Philly Fed's monthly survey of manufacturers in eastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and Delaware showed that the outlook for growth over the next six months also continues to improve.

The report added to positive economic news that helped lift stocks.

"All of the broad indicators remained positive and suggest a modest expansion of activity," the bank said in a statement about its survey.

Manufacturers noted their costs were rising, and the report said there was an "uptick" in the number of firms reporting that they were increasing prices for their goods.

Twenty percent of firms reported an increase in employment from November; 10 percent reported a decrease, the survey report said. Twenty-four percent of firms said they expected to increase employment over the next six months, while 11 percent expect a decrease, according to the survey.