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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions Grow at a Somewhat Slower Pace in April
Business activity grew at a solid clip in New York State, according to firms responding to the April 2018 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index, at 15.8, remained firmly in positive territory, although its seven-point decline from its March level pointed to a somewhat slower pace of growth. Similarly, the new orders index and the shipments index suggested ongoing, albeit more measured, growth, with the first index falling eight points to 9.0 and the second declining ten points to 17.5. Delivery times continued to lengthen, and inventories moved higher. Labor market indicators pointed to a small increase in employment and significantly longer workweeks. The indexes for both prices paid and prices received remained elevated. Firms’ optimism about the six-month outlook waned sharply, with the index for future business conditions plunging twenty-six points to its lowest level in more than two years.
Business Activity Grows at a Somewhat Slower Pace
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity continued to expand, though at a somewhat slower pace than in March. The general business conditions index fell seven points to 15.8. Thirty-eight percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 22 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index fell eight points to 9.0, and the shipments index declined ten points to 17.5, indicating that orders and shipments expanded, but less so than last month. Unfilled orders edged higher, and inventories increased. The delivery time index was little changed at 15.6, a sign that delivery times continued to lengthen.
Price Indexes Remain Elevated
The index for number of employees declined three points to 6.0, a level pointing to a modest increase in employment. Moving in the opposite direction, the average workweek index climbed eleven points to 16.9, indicating a significant increase in hours worked. Price increases remained elevated. The prices paid index edged down three points to 47.4, just slightly below last month’s multiyear high. The prices received index was little changed at 20.7, a level suggesting ongoing moderate selling price increases.
Optimism about the six-month outlook plunged among manufacturing firms. The index for future business conditions slipped twenty-six points to 18.3, its lowest level in more than two years. After reaching its highest level in several years last month, the index for future prices paid was little changed, indicating a widespread expectation that input prices would increase in the months ahead. The index for future prices received edged higher. The capital expenditures index posted its third consecutive monthly decline, though at 25.2, it suggested that firms plan to increase capital spending in the months ahead.
Posted: April 16, 2018 Monday 08:30 AM