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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions were little changed in May
Business activity leveled off in New York State, according to firms responding to the May 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index fell six points to -1.0. The new orders index dropped to -4.4, suggesting a small decline in orders, and the shipments index edged down to 10.6, indicating that shipments increased at a slightly slower pace than in April. Labor market indicators pointed to a modest increase in both employment and hours worked, and input prices and selling prices rose at a more moderate pace. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook were close to last month’s levels, and continued to convey a high degree of optimism about future conditions.
Business Activity Flattens Out after Six-Month Run
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity was little changed in May. On the heels of positive readings for the prior six months, the general business conditions index retreated six points to -1.0. Twenty-six percent of respondents—down roughly 10 percentage points from the corresponding share in April—reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 27 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index fell below zero for the first time in several months, and at -4.4, pointed to a small decline in orders. The shipments index slipped to 10.6, indicating that shipments increased at a slower pace. The unfilled orders index tumbled sixteen points to -3.7. The delivery time index fell nine points to 6.7, a sign that delivery times continued to increase, though less so than last month, and the inventories index fell to -0.7, suggesting that inventory levels were stable.
Employment Continues to Expand
Employment indexes remained positive, pointing to continued improvement in labor market conditions. The index for number of employees edged down to 11.9, and the average workweek index was little changed at 7.5. Price increases slowed: The prices paid index fell twelve points to 20.9, its lowest level since November, and the prices received index moved down eight points to 4.5.
Firms Remain Optimistic
Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms remained optimistic about future conditions. The index for future business conditions held steady at 39.3, and indexes for future new orders and shipments were somewhat higher. Employment was expected to increase in the months ahead. The capital expenditures index fell fourteen points to 13.4, and the technology spending index also came in at 13.4.
Posted: May 15, 2017 Monday 08:30 AM