(Reuters) - A gauge of manufacturing activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region rebounded in January to its highest level in eight months and the outlook is the brightest in more than a year and a half, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said on Thursday.
The regional Fed bank’s business conditions index rose to 17.0 from an upwardly revised 2.4 in December. That easily topped expectations for a reading of 3.8 in January, according to a Reuters poll of economists.
The six-month outlook rose to 38.4, the highest since May 2018, from 34.8 last month. The new orders, employment and prices paid indexes all showed improvement.
The U.S. manufacturing sector was hit hard in the second half of 2019 by the Trump administration’s trade war with China. But policymakers and industry officials are optimistic that the Phase 1 deal with China signed on Wednesday will relieve some of the pressure on the sector in the months ahead.
Reporting By Dan Burns