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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.
The Philadelphia Fed's survey covers manufacturing in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Meantime, Philadelphia touts a labor force that is the 5th largest in the nation. Among a list of the 50 leading employers in the city: Jefferson Health System; the University of Pennsylvania; Merck and Company, UPS and WalMart.
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