New York Firms Optimistic in February

Written by Sandy Williams

Manufacturers in New York State report that business activity improved in February. The general business index of The Empire State Manufacturing survey rose five points to post 8.8 after falling the previous two months.

Indexes for new orders and shipments remained strong in February. The index for new orders climbed four points to 7.5, while the shipment index fell eight points to a still sturdy 10.4.

Inventory and unfilled order indices were considered steady. Delivery times lengthened slightly.

Input prices slowed their pace of growth for the third consecutive month. The input prices index fell nine points to 27.1. Selling price ticked upward, gaining 10 points for a 22.9 index reading.

Employment levels increased only slightly and the average workweek index dipped to 2.5.

Looking forward to the next six months, firms showed renewed optimism with the future business index climbing 15 points to 32.3. Future orders and shipment indices spiked by double digits.

Input prices are expected to continue the slowing trend, while prices received remain relatively steady.

Firms expect employment and hours worked to increase at a solid pace in the months ahead.

The Empire State Manufacturing Index, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, is the first of the regional federal reserve surveys to be released each month. When looked at together, the regional indexes provide insight on the manufacturing business cycle.

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