Manufacturing sectors continued to grow in general activity, new orders, shipments and employment in November, but factories are using just 78 percent of their capacity on average, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
More than a third of companies reported running at between 80 percent and 95 percent capacity, according to the fed's monthly Business Outlook Survey of firms in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. The largest single group of companies (21 percent) said they were using between 70-75 percent of their capacity.
Hiring slowed in manufacturing. Just 13 percent of companies said they increased employment, down from 23 percent, according to the survey.
Nearly 46 percent of companies said they're spending the same as 2013 on their plant and equipment in the next year. Twenty-nine percent said they will increase their spending.
Thirty percent of companies reported increased general activity, up from just 24 percent a month ago, according to the fed.
Thirty-five percent of companies said new orders were increasing, down from 41 percent, representing a slowing demand for goods in the past month.