Manufacturing activity in New York state continues to soften

Written by Brett Linton

New York state saw a continued decline in manufacturing activity in April, according to the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The General Business Conditions Index rose nearly seven points from March to April but remains in negative territory at -14.3. This is the fifth consecutive month the reading has indicated deteriorating business conditions.

“Manufacturing activity continued to contract in New York state in April, and employment continued to decline,” commented Richard Deitz, economic research advisor at the New York Federal Reserve. “Optimism about the outlook for future business conditions remained subdued.”

The survey release indicated that new orders and shipments both declined significantly in April. Delivery times shrunk as inventory levels grew, and labor market conditions remained weak.

On a three-month moving average basis (3MMA) the index jumped nearly 10 points from March’s 45-month low, now at -12.53 in April (Figure 1). This is the highest 3MMA seen since December. Recall that in March we saw the fourth-lowest 3MMA figure within our 15-year data history, only higher than the months of March, April, and May 2020.

The manufacturing index saw significant swings in the first two months of this year, plummeting 29 points in January and then rebounding 41 points in February, remaining in negative territory in both months. In 2023, the index peaked at 10.8 in April and has only indicated business condition improvements for eight months out of the last two-plus years.

An interactive history of the Empire State Manufacturing Index is available on our website.

Brett Linton

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