Empire State Manufacturing Index Falls in March

Written by David Schollaert

Business activity in the state of New York waned in March, declining for the first time since the onset of the global pandemic nearly two years ago, according to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey.

New YorkThe headline general business conditions index is now at -11.8 (above the neutral mark of 0), falling 15 points from February’s 3.1, and the lowest reading since May 2020. New orders and shipments declined modestly, delivery times lengthened substantially, while unfilled orders and inventories expanded.

The new orders index was down 12.6 points to a -11.2 reading after gaining nearly 7 points in February. Shipments were down 10.3 points to a reading of -7.4 for the month. Labor market indicators pointed to a modest increase in employment and a slightly longer average workweek.

Unfilled orders edged down 1.3 points to 13.1, while delivery times expanded 11.1 points to a reading of 32.7 in March. The inventories index moved higher, extending by 9.8 points to a reading of 21.5.

Prices paid slipped by 3.0 points in March to an index reading of 73.8. Prices received rose this month by 2 points to 56.1. The number of employees also fell in March by 8.6 points to 14.5 from 23.1 the month prior. The average workweek index was 3.5, down 7.4 points versus January’s reading of 10.9.

Despite the downward move in March, the six-month outlook remained generally optimistic. The index for future business conditions climbed seven points to a reading of 36.6 in March versus February, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said.

Longer delivery times, higher prices and increases in employment are all expected in the months ahead, while capital spending plans remained firm. New orders rose by 8.6 points to 41.1 in March, while shipments gained 9.7 points to a measure of 42.3.

The indexes for future prices paid and received both expanded after losing ground in February. Future prices paid rose 2.6 points to 72.9, while future prices received was up 7.5 in March to a reading of 58.9. The capital expenditures index slipped by 2.3 points to 35.5 after holding near a multi-year high, suggesting that firms still plan for significant increases in capital spending. The technology spending index fell 6.3 points for the second straight month to a measure of 23.4 in February.

EmpireStateManuf. March

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By David Schollaert,


David Schollaert

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