New York State Still Deep in Contraction, But Improving

Written by Sandy Williams

Manufacturing activity in May continued to deteriorate in New York State, according to the May 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The general business conditions index posted at -48.5, but did gain 30 points from April’s record lower. Sixty-three percent of the firms reporting said that conditions had worsened in May, while 15 percent saw some improvement.

New orders and shipments continued to decline, but at a slower pace than in April. Both indexes remained well below zero at -42.4 and -39.0, respectively. Delivery times were somewhat shorter in May and inventories were slightly lower.

Input prices increased slightly while selling prices declined for a second month. Employment levels fell further in May, but not as sharply as in April.

“While current conditions remained extremely weak, firms grew more optimistic that conditions would be better six months from now,” said the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The index for future business conditions rose 22 points to 29.1. Employment levels are expected to modestly improve in the coming months. Firms indicated a reluctance to commit to any new spending at this time.

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