Monthly releases of measures of economic activity in their regions from many Federal Reserve offices always get attention, but few can match the most recent report from Philadelphia Fed office that reached a level not seen in 50 years.

Other than the massive rebound off the pandemic low in June 1, 2020, when the Index lifted from a negative number, the recent Index gain was the largest for a month since October 1, 1980.

At 51.8, the headline number for the Index was 28.7 points higher than the previous month. The headline number, however, was not the only upside surprise. The new orders index was up 28 points to set a 50-year high, and the current shipments index increased 9 points to 30.2. At 75.9, the prices paid index reached its highest level since March 1980.

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