“Firms responding to the July Business Outlook Survey continued to report weak business conditions.”
That’s the lead from the Philly Fed after talking to 76 manufacturing firms across the Delaware Valley. It’s the third straight month of decline in mid-Atlantic factory activity, which has some analysts concerned about a regional slowdown.
So why the down mood?
Uncertainty about the economy topped the list among survey respondents. Uncertainty about future tax rates or government regulations came in a close second.
Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist with RDM Financial Group, says manufacturing had been leading the economic recovery.
“Industrial production, the auto sector, export led growth — all of those have been bright spots,” said Sheldon. “But we are starting to see some potholes in that growth story.”
Sheldon says there were some improvements in the latest data around new orders and shipments. But, on the flip side, he points to a significant decline in the index measuring employment.