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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions grew modestly in December
Business activity grew modestly in New York State, according to firms responding to the December 2016 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index climbed eight points to 9.0. The new orders index rose to 11.4, and the shipments index was unchanged at 8.5. Labor market conditions remained weak, with manufacturers reporting declines in employment and hours worked. Inventories continued to fall, and delivery times shortened. The prices paid index rose seven points, pointing to a pickup in input price increases, while the prices received index showed only a slight increase in selling prices. Indexes for the six-month outlook conveyed a high degree of optimism about future conditions, with the index for future business conditions rising to its highest level in nearly five years.
Business Activity Picks Up
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity expanded in December. The general business conditions index rose eight points to 9.0, its highest level since April. Thirty-two percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 23 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index climbed eight points to 11.4, indicating that orders increased at a solid clip, and the shipments index held steady at 8.5, pointing to an ongoing increase in shipments. The unfilled orders index edged two points higher to -10.4, and at -7.8, the delivery time index signaled shorter delivery times. The inventories index remained negative, indicating that inventory levels continued to fall, though at a slower pace than last month.
Labor Market Conditions Remain Weak
As in November, both employment indexes remained negative in December. The index for number of employees was little changed at -12.2, a sign that employment levels continued to wane, and the average workweek index, at -7.0, pointed to a decline in hours worked. The prices paid index rose seven points to 22.6, indicating that input price increases accelerated, and the prices received index held steady at 3.5, signaling another small increase in selling prices this month.
Firms Highly Optimistic about the Future
Indexes for the six-month outlook strengthened, and suggested that respondents were very optimistic about future conditions. The index for future business conditions shot up twenty points to 50.2, its highest level in nearly five years, with 61 percent of respondents expecting conditions to improve in the months ahead. The index for future new orders climbed eighteen points to 46.7, and the index for future shipments increased fourteen points to 40.1. The index for future employment indicated that firms expected to expand employment significantly. The capital expenditures index climbed nine points to 21.7, and the technology spending index rose four points to 12.2.
Posted: December 15, 2016 Thursday 08:30 AM