Hey Look Everybody! Good Economic News For Philadelphia! (Except for the Obamacare Part)
Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region expanded more than forecast in July, the latest sign of an improving outlook for the industry after a slowdown earlier this year.
The Philadelphia Fed’s shipments gauged climbed to 14.3 in July, the highest this year, from 4.1. A gauge of employmentrose to 7.7, the strongest since April 2012, from minus 5.4 in June.
Philadelphia-area manufacturers grew more optimistic about the future, today’s report showed. The outlook index for six months from now rose to 44.9, the highest level since March 2011, from 33.7 in June.
Like the New York Fed, the Philadelphia Fed surveyed manufacturers about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it’s commonly known, in connection with its monthly survey.
Nearly 14% of respondents said they were cutting back or dropping health insurance, while about 3% said they would make benefits more comprehensive and 4% said they would expand coverage to those working 30 hours or more per week.
About 11% said they were already outsourcing more, roughly 6% said they were shifting to more part-time work and about 3% said they are firing or refraining from hiring to keep the payroll under 50 full-time workers.
We’ll probably have to wait a bit to get a real read on what Obamacare means for jobs, but this isn’t an auspicious early sign.