The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index decreased to minus 10.7 in November from 5.7 a month earlier. A reading of zero is the dividing line between expansion and contraction in the area covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
Economists forecast the gauge would decline to 2, according to the median projection in a Bloomberg survey. Estimates ranged from minus 10 to 8.
Another report showed manufacturing in the New York region contracted for a fourth straight month in November as superstorm Sandy knocked out electrical power and limited activity.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index was minus 5.2 this month after minus 6.2 in October. Readings of less than zero signal contraction in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut.
Sandy also wreaked havoc on the job market. Applications for jobless benefits surged by 78,000 to 439,000 in the week ended Nov. 10, the most since April 2011, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Several states said the increase was due to the storm that hit the Northeastern part of the U.S. in late October, a Labor Department spokesman said as the data were released to the press.
The storm failed to damp sentiment. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index improved to minus 33.1 in the week ended Nov. 11 from minus 34.4 the week prior.