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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions expanded at a solid clip in September 2020
Business activity expanded at a solid clip in New York State, according to firms responding to the September 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index climbed thirteen points to 17.0. New orders increased modestly, and shipments grew significantly. Unfilled orders continued to decline. Inventories edged slightly lower, and delivery times were somewhat longer. Employment was again little changed this month, though the average workweek picked up. Input prices increased at a faster pace than in August, and selling prices continued to increase modestly. Looking ahead, firms remained optimistic that conditions would improve over the next six months.
Conditions Improve Noticeably
Manufacturing activity in New York State grew significantly in September. The general business conditions index rose thirteen points to 17.0, its third consecutive positive reading. Forty percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 23 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index climbed nine points to 7.1, pointing to a modest increase in orders, and the shipments index rose seven points to 14.1, indicating a significant increase in shipments. Delivery times increased, while unfilled orders and inventories declined.
Selling Prices Increase for a Second Consecutive Month
The index for number of employees held steady at 2.6, indicating little change in employment levels. The average workweek index rose fourteen points to 6.7, its first positive reading since the pandemic began, signaling an increase in hours worked. The prices paid index rose nine points to 25.2, pointing to a pickup in input price increases. The prices received index edged up to 6.5, its highest level since March, indicating that selling prices increased for a second consecutive month.
Firms Remain Optimistic about Future Conditions
The index for future business conditions moved up six points to 40.3, suggesting that firms remained optimistic about future conditions, and to a greater degree than last month. 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 rose thirteen points to 18.7, its highest level in several months, a sign that firms, on net, planned to increase capital spending.
Posted: September 15, 2020 Tuesday 08:30 AM