Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index rebounds

WASHINGTON (AP) ? A gauge of manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region rebounded in July after hitting a nearly two-year low during the previous month.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia says its regional index of manufacturing conditions rose to 3.2 in July. It had dropped to negative 7.7 the previous month, the first negative reading in nine months.

Still, the report shows regional manufacturing remains weak in the region. The new orders index barely returned to positive territory. It reached 0.1 after having fallen to negative 7.6 in June. That’s a sign that companies aren’t seeing much demand.

The index tracks manufacturing conditions in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.

High gas prices and supply disruptions stemming from Japan’s earthquake have slowed the economy.