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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions grew modestly in February
Business activity grew modestly in New York State, according to firms responding to the February 2019 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index moved up five points to 8.8. New orders and shipments also increased modestly. Delivery times were slightly longer, and inventories held steady. Labor market indicators pointed to a slight increase in employment and hours worked. The prices paid index moved lower for a third consecutive month, indicating an ongoing deceleration in input price increases, while the prices received index climbed ten points to reach its highest level in several months, indicating a pickup in selling price increases. After slumping last month, indexes assessing the six-month outlook improved noticeably, suggesting firms were fairly optimistic about future conditions.
Business Activity Expands
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity grew, though like last month, at a significantly slower pace than much of last year. After falling for the prior two months, the general business conditions index rose five points to 8.8. Thirty-two percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 23 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index climbed four points to 7.5. The shipments index came in at 10.4, indicating a decent pace of growth, though the index fell eight points to its lowest level in well over a year. Unfilled orders held steady, inventories were little changed, and delivery times were slightly longer.
Employment Growth Muted
The index for number of employees fell for a second consecutive month, declining three points to a still-positive 4.1, pointing to a slight increase in employment levels, and the average workweek index moved down to 2.5. The prices paid index fell for a third consecutive month, falling nine points to 27.1, indicating a continued slowing of input price increases. The prices received index increased ten points to 22.9, suggesting that selling price increases picked up.
Firms were more optimistic about the six-month outlook than last month. After dipping in January, the index for future business conditions rose 15 points to 32.3. The indexes for future new orders and shipments climbed to similar levels. Firms expected employment and hours worked to increase at a solid pace in the months ahead. The capital expenditures index rose eleven points to 29.3, and the technology spending index edged up to 22.1.
Posted: February 15, 2019 Friday 08:30 AM