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Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions grew only slightly in March
Business activity grew only slightly in New York State, according to firms responding to the March 2019 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index fell five points to 3.7. New orders increased only marginally, while shipments grew modestly. Delivery times and inventories held steady. Labor market indicators pointed to an increase in employment, but a small decline in hours worked. The prices paid index moved higher for the first time in four months, pointing to a pickup in input price increases, while the prices received index moved lower, indicating a slowing in selling price increases. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms remained fairly optimistic about future conditions.
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity expanded only slightly. The general business conditions index fell five points to 3.7, its third consecutive monthly reading below 10, suggesting that growth has remained quite a bit slower so far this year than it was for most of 2018. Thirty percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 25 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index fell five points to 3.0, indicating that orders grew at a slower pace than last month. The shipments index declined three points to 7.7, a level indicating that shipments grew modestly, though representing the lowest reading in more than two years. Unfilled orders inched higher, and delivery times and inventories were little changed.
Employment Expands, but Workweek Falls
The index for number of employees climbed ten points to 13.8, pointing to an increase in employment levels, though the average workweek index turned negative for the first time since 2016. The prices paid index moved higher, rising seven points to 34.1, indicating a pickup in input price increases. The prices received index fell five points to 18.1, suggesting that selling price increases slowed.
Firms Remain Fairly Optimistic
Optimism about the six-month outlook was slightly lower than last month. The index for future business conditions edged down three points to 29.6. The indexes for future new orders and shipments were also somewhat below last month’s levels. Firms expected solid increases in employment and hours worked in the months ahead. The capital expenditures index was little changed at 28.3, and the technology spending index came in at 20.3.
Posted: March 15, 2019 Friday 08:30 AM