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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions grew slightly in October
Business activity grew slightly in New York State, according to firms responding to the October 2019 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index edged up two points to 4.0. There was only a small increase in new orders, but shipments picked up. Delivery times decreased slightly, while inventories were little changed. Employment levels and hours worked both increased modestly. Input prices and selling prices increased at a slower pace than last month. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook indicated that optimism about future conditions improved somewhat but remained subdued.
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity grew slightly this month but remained sluggish. The general business conditions index moved up two points to 4.0. Thirty percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 26 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index was unchanged at 3.5, pointing to a small increase in orders. After reaching its lowest level in nearly three years, the shipments index rose seven points to 13.0, indicating that shipments picked up. The unfilled orders index remained negative for a fifth consecutive month, suggesting that unfilled orders continued to decline. Delivery times decreased slightly, while inventories were little changed.
Modest Employment Gains
The index for number of employees came in at 7.6, pointing to ongoing modest employment gains, and the average workweek index rose seven points to 8.3, indicating that hours worked also increased. Prices increased at a slower pace than last month: the prices paid index moved down six points to 23.1 and the prices received index slipped three points to 6.3.
Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that optimism about future conditions improved somewhat but remained subdued. The index for future business conditions edged up three points to 17.1 but remained well below the levels seen for much of the past few years. The indexes for future new orders and shipments were little changed from last month, while indexes for future prices remained fairly elevated. Firms continued to expect solid increases in employment levels but no change in the average workweek in the months ahead. The capital expenditures index and technology spending index both rose to 8.8.
Posted: October 15, 2019 Tuesday 08:30 AM