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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions expanded at a slower pace in February
Business activity continued to expand in New York State, according to firms responding to the February 2018 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index fell five points to 13.1, suggesting a somewhat slower pace of growth than in January. The new orders index and the shipments index were little changed, and indicated ongoing growth in orders and shipments. Unfilled orders increased slightly, and delivery times lengthened. Labor market conditions pointed to a modest increase in employment and hours worked. Input price increases picked up noticeably, with the prices paid index reaching its highest level in several years. Firms remained very optimistic about future business conditions, and capital spending plans continued to be robust.
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity continued to expand, though at a somewhat slower pace than last month. The general business conditions index moved down five points to 13.1. Thirty-seven percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 24 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index was little changed at 13.5, and the shipments index was also little changed at 12.5—readings that indicated ongoing growth in orders and shipments. The unfilled orders index remained positive for a second consecutive month, reflecting a small increase in unfilled orders. The delivery time index rose eight points to 11.1, a sign that delivery times lengthened. The inventories index declined but remained positive at 4.9, suggesting that inventory levels edged higher.
Input Price Increases Pick Up
The index for number of employees rose to 10.9, signaling a modest increase in employment levels, and the average workweek index rose to 4.6, indicating that hours worked also climbed. Input price increases were noticeably higher. The prices paid index climbed twelve points to 48.6, its highest level in nearly six years. The prices received index held steady at 21.5, a level pointing to continued moderate selling price increases.
Firms Remain Optimistic about Future Conditions
Looking ahead, firms continued to be optimistic about the six-month outlook. The index for future business conditions edged up two points to 50.5. The index for future delivery times reached a record high of 15.3, indicating that firms expected longer delivery times in the months ahead. The index for future prices paid stayed close to last month’s multiyear high, and the capital expenditures index, at 31.9, showed that firms’ capital spending plans remained strong.
Posted: February 15, 2018 Thursday 08:30 AM