Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region remained marginally on the upswing this month, but factory heads showed "diminished optimism" for growth over the next six months, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
The bank's closely watched survey results from 80 manufacturers indicate that general activity and new orders remained near March's modest levels, but shipments showed some improvement, the bank said.
The survey's broad measure of manufacturing conditions fell to 1.3, from last month's level of 2.0. Measures above zero indicate growth.
Employment levels edged lower, the bank said, but firms continued to say they have modest hiring plans for the coming months. Overall, 17 percent of responding firms said they had decreased employment, while 10 percent said they had increased hiring.