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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions grew strongly in August
Business activity grew strongly in New York State, according to firms responding to the August 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index climbed fifteen points to 25.2, its highest level in nearly three years. The new orders index rose seven points to 20.6 and the shipments index edged up to 12.4, pointing to solid gains in orders and shipments. Delivery times continued to lengthen, and inventory levels moved lower. Labor market indicators pointed to an increase in employment and hours worked. Input prices rose at a faster clip than last month, while selling prices rose at a somewhat slower pace. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms were very optimistic about future conditions.
Activity Picks Up Markedly
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity expanded strongly in August. The general business conditions index rose fifteen points to 25.2, its highest level since September 2014. Forty-two percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 17 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index climbed seven points to 20.6, pointing to a solid increase in orders, and the shipments index rose slightly to 12.4. The unfilled orders index held steady at -4.7. The delivery time index was little changed at 5.4, pointing to somewhat longer deliver times, and the inventories index fell to -3.1, indicating that inventory levels were slightly lower.
Labor Market Conditions Improve
After retreating for the preceding three months, the index for number of employees increased two points to 6.2, pointing to a modest rise in employment levels, and the average workweek index advanced to 10.9, indicating that the average workweek lengthened. The prices paid index rose ten points to 31.0, a sign that input price increases picked up, while the prices received index fell five points to 6.2, suggesting that the pace of selling price increases moderated slightly.
Firms Very Optimistic
Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms were quite optimistic about future conditions. The index for future business conditions rose ten points to 45.2, and the index for future new orders moved up eight points to 41.3. Employment was expected to increase modestly, though the average workweek was expected to decline slightly. The capital expenditures index slipped to 11.6, and the technology spending index fell to 9.3.
Posted: August 15, 2017 Tuesday 08:30 AM