Manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic region contracted in August by the most in more than two years, adding to fears that the U.S. economy is weakening. Those fears sent financial markets tumbling in morning trading.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's survey of regional manufacturing activity fell to a reading of negative 30.7 in August. A reading below zero means the sector is contracting.
Manufacturing was growing slowly in July, according to the last survey.
The Philadelphia Fed says the survey was taken in the second week of August. Stocks fluctuated wildly that week. The results suggest businesses saw demand fall amid the turmoil.
The manufacturing sector has been a key source of growth for the economy since the recession officially ended two years ago.