Business activity in New York State grew significantly in March, according to the New York Fed’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The general business index rose five points to 17.4, its highest level since July 2020. New orders increased slightly during the month, but shipments soared 17 points to an index reading of 21.1.
Inventories were slightly higher and delivery times continued to lengthen in March. Input prices rose at their fastest pace in almost a decade and selling prices remained near last month’s two-year high.
Modest gains were reported for employment levels and work week hours. The future index for employment rose to its highest reading in more than 10 years, indicating firms expect to increase hiring in the next several months.
Looking ahead for the next six months, New York manufacturers remain optimistic. Shipments are expected to surge as backlogs are filled. A modest rise in new orders is anticipated along with further increases in input and selling prices.
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