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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions were essentially flat in November
Business activity stabilized in New York State, according to firms responding to the November 2016 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index climbed out of negative territory for the first time in four months, rising eight points to 1.5. The new orders and shipments indexes also turned positive, rising to 3.1 and 8.5, respectively. Labor market conditions remained weak, with the number of employees and average workweek indexes both at -10.9. The inventories index fell eleven points to -23.6, pointing to a marked decline in inventory levels. Although price indexes were lower, they remained positive, suggesting a slower pace of growth in both input prices and selling prices. Indexes for the six-month outlook conveyed somewhat less optimism about future conditions than in October.
Business Activity Steadies
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity was essentially flat in November. On the heels of three consecutive negative readings, the general business conditions index rose eight points to 1.5. Twenty-seven percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 25 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index climbed nine points to 3.1, indicating that orders edged higher, and the shipments index rose nine points to 8.5, pointing to an increase in shipments. The unfilled orders index inched down to -12.7, and at -5.5, the delivery time index signaled shorter delivery times. The inventories index fell eleven points to -23.6, a multiyear low, indicating that inventory levels declined significantly.
Labor Market Conditions Remain Weak
Both employment indexes remained negative in November. The index for number of employees dropped six points to -10.9, a sign that employment levels were contracting, and the average workweek index, little changed at -10.9, pointed to a decline in hours worked. The prices paid index fell seven points to 15.5, indicating that input price increases slowed, and the prices received index edged down to 2.7, signaling that selling prices were marginally higher.
Optimism Slightly Lower
Indexes for the six-month outlook suggested that respondents were somewhat less optimistic about future conditions than they were last month. The index for future business conditions retreated six points to 29.9. The index for future new orders and the index for future shipments fell to similar levels. Indexes for future employment and the future average workweek, at 10.9 and 10.0, respectively, indicated that firms expected to expand employee rolls and hours worked in the months ahead. Indexes for future prices suggested that firms anticipated an increase in both input prices and selling prices over the next six months. The capital expenditures and technology spending indexes were little changed, and pointed to modest increases in spending for both categories.
Posted: November 15, 2016 Tuesday 08:30 AM