Empire State Manufacturing Index Rebounds in April, Outlook Less Optimistic

Written by David Schollaert

Business activity in the state of New York expanded markedly in April, following the first decline in the headline index since the onset of the global pandemic nearly two years ago, according to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey.

The headline general business conditions index is now at 24.6 (above the neutral mark of 0), surging 36.4 points from March’s -11.8 15, the strongest expansion since June 2020.

In April, new orders and shipments grew strongly, while unfilled orders increased. Delivery times lengthened, though at a slower pace than in recent months, and inventories rose.

The new orders index rose 36.3 points to a 25.1 reading after falling 12.6 points in March. Shipments were up 41.9 points to a reading of 34.5 for the month. Labor market indicators pointed to a small increase in employment and the average workweek.

Unfilled orders rose 4.2 points to 17.3, while delivery times contracted by 10.9 points to a reading of 21.8 in April. The inventories index also moved lower, slipping by 7.9 points to a reading of 13.6.

In April, the prices paid index hit a record high of 86.4 (+12.6), and the prices received index remained elevated at 49.1 despite slipping by 7 points month on month. Plans for capital and technology spending were solid.

The number of employees also fell in April by 7.2 points to 7.2 from 14.5 from the month prior. The average workweek index was 10, up 6.5 points versus March’s reading of 3.5.

Despite the general upward move in April, the six-month outlook was significantly less optimistic than in recent months. The index for future business conditions dropped 21.4 points to a reading of 15.2 in April versus March, its lowest level since early in the pandemic, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said.

Longer delivery times, higher prices, and increases in employment are all expected in the months ahead, and capital spending plans remained firm. New orders plummeted by 26.1 points to 15.0 in April, while shipments tumbled 28.9 points to a measure of 13.442.3.

The indexes for future prices paid and received both slipped after gaining ground in March. Future prices paid slipped 0.2 points to 72.7, while future prices received was down 3.4 in April to a reading of 55.5. The capital expenditures index slipped by 3.7 points to 31.8, yet still suggests firms plan for significant increases in capital spending. The technology spending index rose 3.9 points to a measure of 27.3 in April.

EmpireStateManuf. Apr2.0

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By David Schollaert,


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