The Philadelphia Fed’s Business Outlook Survey for October 2010 was released with the following headline:
Results from the Business Outlook Survey suggest that regional manufacturing activity was steady in October. Although the broad survey measures showed marginal improvement this month, the new orders index continued to suggest weak demand for manufactured goods. More firms reported increases in input prices this month, although the prices of firms’ manufactured goods continued to decline. The survey’s broad indicators of future activity suggest that optimism among the region’s manufacturing executives improved notably this month.
These Fed surveys are always interesting to me as they put a quantitative spin on opinion – but yet do it in a way that in hindsight the overall result seems correct. Basically, the implication is that business / manufacturing is flat-lining. This overall view of the Economy is shared by Econintersect.
The chill in your spine comes from looking at the breakdown of the data – both new orders and backlog continuing to decline MoM. However, the decline in new orders is less bad.
The most recent September hard data is also supporting a flat-line view of the economy – some data up, some data down. There is no data or opinion surveys to date which are indicating an economic contraction.