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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions picked up significantly May
Business activity picked up significantly in New York State, according to firms responding to the May 2019 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index climbed eight points to 17.8, its highest level in six months. New orders and shipments also grew at a faster pace than in recent months. Delivery times held steady, and inventories moved slightly lower. Labor market indicators pointed to small increases in employment and hours worked. Price indexes were little changed, suggesting that prices increased at about the same pace as last month. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook indicated that firms were significantly more optimistic about future conditions than they were in April.
Growth Picks Up
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity expanded at a solid pace. The general business conditions index rose eight points to 17.8, its second consecutive monthly increase and its highest level since November 2018. Thirty-six percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 18 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index rose two points to 9.7, indicating an increase in orders, and the shipments index moved up eight points to 16.3, pointing to good increases in shipments. Unfilled orders inched higher, delivery times were little changed, and inventories were somewhat below last month’s levels.
A Small Increase in Employment
The index for number of employees fell seven points to 4.7, a level indicating that employment increased only to a small degree. The average workweek index held steady at 4.4. Price increases were similar to those seen last month. The prices paid index was little changed at 26.2, as was the prices received index at 12.4.
Firms More Optimistic
Manufacturing firms were significantly more optimistic about the six-month outlook than they were last month. The index for future business conditions shot up 18 points to 30.6. The indexes for future new orders and shipments climbed to similar levels. Firms expected solid increases in employment but no change in the average workweek in the months ahead. The capital expenditures index was little changed at 26.2, and the technology spending index came in at 22.8, up slightly from April’s reading.
Posted: May 15, 2019 Wednesday 08:30 AM