Philly Fed factory activity index slows in Oct
NEW YORK, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region slowed slightly in October, but firms' optimism about the future stayed at a 10-year high, a survey showed on Thursday.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index slipped to 19.8 in October from 22.3 in September. The October figure was still well above economists' expectations for a reading of 15.0.
The survey has now been positive for five straight months. Any reading above zero indicates expansion in the region's manufacturing. The survey covers factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
The new orders index increased to 27.5, its highest reading since March 2011, from 21.2, while employment rose to 15.4, its highest reading since May 2011, from 10.3. Prices paid fell to 21.7 from 25.3.
The survey showed respondents were optimistic about the future, with the six-month business conditions index at 60.8, the highest level since September 2003, from 58.2 in September.
The survey is one of the first monthly indicators of the health of U.S. manufacturing leading up to the national report by the Institute for Supply Management.
(Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)