Empire State Manufacturing Survey Shows Improved Conditions For April
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey showed improved conditions for New York manufacturers in April. The general business conditions index hit 21.7, highest level in a year after the four point increase. Only 13% of respondents reported worse conditions, accounting for the lowest share in over five years.
Also the highest in a year was the new orders index, rising a steep 17 points, to 22.3. The shipments index rose even more with a 27 point increase to 28.3. Prices paid index moved up for the fifth month in a row to 57.7 while prices received also saw increases, moving up 6 points to 26.9. This indicates that price increases are still on the rise, probably due to increased material costs all the markets are seeing right now.
The index for number of employees climbed to 23.1, while the average workweek index edged down to 10.3. These indicate employment levels are up and hours worked rose. Current issues seen by manufacturers’ were the cost of employee benefits, government regulation and taxes, and finding qualified workers. Almost 80% respondents indicated that the crisis in Japan was having little or no effect on their business. Inventory levels seemed a little lower as they dipped below zero to -1.3.
For the future, respondents are optimistic that conditions will continue improving over the next six months. The future new orders index was unchanged at 43.6, but the future shipments index decreased to 37.2.