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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions grew modestly in August
Business activity increased modestly in New York State, according to firms responding to the August 2019 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index was little changed at 4.8. New orders increased after declining for the prior two months, and shipments continued to expand. Unfilled orders fell, delivery times were steady, and inventories increased. The employment and average workweek indexes were both slightly below zero, pointing to sluggishness in labor market conditions. Input prices increased at a slightly slower pace than last month, and selling price increases were little changed. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook indicated that firms were somewhat less optimistic about future conditions than they were in July.
A Second Month of Modest Growth
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity grew modestly in August. The general business conditions index was little changed at 4.8, pointing to two months of modest growth after a brief decline in activity in June. Twenty-seven percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 22 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index climbed above zero, and at 6.7, indicated that orders increased. The shipments index moved slightly higher to 9.3, pointing to an increase in shipments. Unfilled orders declined for a third consecutive month. Delivery times were steady, and inventories rose for the first time since April.
Employment Conditions Remain Weak
The index for number of employees held below zero for a third consecutive month, coming in at -1.6, and the average workweek index was -1.3, pointing to ongoing sluggishness in employment levels and hours worked. The prices paid index edged down two points to 23.2, suggesting a slightly slower pace of input price increases than last month. The prices received index was little changed at 4.5, with selling price increases maintaining a modest pace.
Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms were somewhat less optimistic about future conditions than they were last month. The index for future business conditions fell five points to 25.7, and the index for future new orders also moved lower. Firms expected increases in employment levels but no change in the average workweek in the months ahead. The capital expenditures index rose four points to 23.2, and the technology spending index moved up to 17.4.
Posted: August 15, 2019 Thursday 08:30 AM