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Factory growth fastest in 3 years in Philly region

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region surged in July, expanding at its fastest pace in more than three years, as new orders, shipments, and hiring all rose.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia says its index of regional factory activity rose to 23.9 in July from 17.8 in June. Any reading above zero indicates growth. July's figure is the highest since March 2011.

The data comes after a separate Fed report Wednesday suggested manufacturing output increased at a healthy pace in the April-June quarter and is fueling the economy's return to growth after a dismal first quarter. A New York Fed report on Monday showed manufacturing in that region expanded in July at the fastest pace in more than four years.

The Philadelphia Fed's survey covers manufacturing in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

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