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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions declined in March 2020
Business activity declined in New York State, according to firms responding to the March 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index fell thirty-four points to -21.5, its lowest level since 2009. The new orders index dropped to -9.3, pointing to a decline in orders, and the shipments index fell to -1.7. Delivery times lengthened slightly, and inventories increased. Employment levelled off, and the average workweek declined. Input price increases were little changed, while selling prices increased at a slower pace than last month. Optimism about the six-month outlook fell sharply, with firms less optimistic than they have been since 2009.
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity declined. The general business conditions index fell thirty-four points to -21.5, its largest point drop on record, and its lowest level since 2009. Twenty percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 42 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index turned negative, falling thirty-one points to -9.3, indicating that orders fell. The shipments index moved down to -1.7, indicating that shipments were little changed. Delivery times were slightly longer and inventories were somewhat higher.
Labor Market Indicators Weaken
The index for number of employees fell eight points to -1.5, indicating that employment levels were little changed over the month. The average workweek fell to -10.6, a sign that the average workweek was shorter. The prices paid index held steady at 24.5, suggesting that input prices increased at the same pace as last month, while the prices received index fell seven points to 10.1, pointing to a deceleration in selling price increases.
Optimism about Future Activity Wanes
Firms no longer expect general business conditions to be better over the next six months. The index for future business conditions declined twenty-two points to 1.2, its lowest level since 2009. The indexes for future new orders and future shipments declined, but remained firmly positive, suggesting that firms expect orders and shipments to be higher compared with this month’s levels. The capital expenditures index fell three points to 18.7, and the technology spending index fell seven points to 14.4.
Posted: March 16, 2020 Monday 08:30 AM