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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions fell in August 2020
Business activity edged slightly higher in New York State, according to firms responding to the August 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index fell fourteen points to 3.7, signaling a slower pace of growth than in July. New orders were little changed, and shipments increased modestly. Unfilled orders were down, and inventories declined. Employment inched higher, while the average workweek declined. Input prices increased at about the same pace as last month, while selling prices increased for the first time in several months. Firms remained optimistic that conditions would improve over the next six months, though optimism fell for a second consecutive month.
Growth Slows following July’s Sturdy Increase
After increasing significantly in July for the first time since the pandemic began, manufacturing activity in New York State grew only slightly in August. The general business conditions index fell fourteen points to 3.7. Thirty-four percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 30 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index fell sixteen points to -1.7, indicating that orders levelled off, and the shipments index fell twelve points to 6.7, pointing to a modest increase in shipments. Delivery times were steady. Unfilled orders and inventories declined.
Selling Prices Increase for the First Time in Months
The index for number of employees edged up to 2.4, indicating that employment levels inched slightly higher. The average workweek index fell four points to -6.8, pointing to a decline in hours worked. The prices paid index was little changed at 16.0, signaling that input prices increased at about the same pace as last month. The prices received index climbed above zero, indicating that selling prices increased for the first time since March.
Conditions Expected to Improve
The index for future business conditions moved down four points to 34.3, suggesting that firms remained optimistic about future conditions, though less so than the prior two months. The indexes for future new orders and future shipments posted similar readings, and firms expect to increase employment in the months ahead. The capital expenditures index came in at 6.0, a sign that firms, on net, planned small increases in capital spending.
Posted: August 17, 2020 Monday 08:30 AM