Empire State Manufacturing Survey: Modest Growth In February

This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions at 8.8 was an increase of 4.9 from the previous month's 3.9.

The Investing.com forecast was for a reading of 7.10.

The Empire State Manufacturing Index rates the relative level of general business conditions in New York state. A level above 0.0 indicates improving conditions, below indicates worsening conditions. The reading is compiled from a survey of about 200 manufacturers in New York state.

Here is the opening paragraph from the report.

Business activity grew modestly in New York State, according to firms responding to the February 2019 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index moved up five points to 8.8. New orders and shipments also increased modestly. Delivery times were slightly longer, and inventories held steady. Labor market indicators pointed to a slight increase in employment and hours worked. The prices paid index moved lower for a third consecutive month, indicating an ongoing deceleration in input price increases, while the prices received index climbed ten points to reach its highest level in several months, indicating a pickup in selling price increases. After slumping last month, indexes assessing the six-month outlook improved noticeably, suggesting firms were fairly optimistic about future conditions. [source]

Here is a chart of the current conditions and its 3-month moving average, which helps clarify the trend for this extremely volatile indicator:

Empire State Manufacturing

 

Click this link to access a PDF set of charts of the individual components over the past 12 months.

Since this survey only goes back to July of 2001, we only have one complete business cycle with which to evaluate its usefulness as an indicator for the broader economy. Following the Great Recession, the index has slipped into contraction multiple times, as the general trend slowed. We saw a gradual decline in 2015 that began picking up in 2016.

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