The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York manufacturers improved at a healthy pace in February. The general business conditions index climbed 9 points, to 24.9. The new orders index fell, though it remained positive, and the shipments index inched downward as well. The inventories index rose sharply, to 0.0, its highest reading in considerably more than a year. The prices paid index was little changed from its high level last month, and the prices received index remained just above zero for a second consecutive month. Employment indexes were positive for a second consecutive month, although at relatively low levels. Future indexes continued to show a high level of optimism about the six-month outlook.
Business activity improved for a seventh consecutive month in February, and at a relatively rapid pace. The general business conditions index rose 9 points to 24.9, with 42 percent of respondents reporting that conditions had improved over the month, and 17 percent reporting that conditions had worsened. Although the new orders index fell 12 points, it remained positive, at 8.8. The shipments index also fell, from 21.1 to 15.1, while the unfilled orders index held steady at 2.8. The delivery time index retreated to -6.9. The inventories index rose sharply, to 0.0, its highest reading in well over a year, with more than a quarter of respondents reporting rising inventory levels over the month.
Employment indexes remained just above zero. The index for number of employees was 5.6, with 21 percent of respondents reporting increased staffing levels and 15 percent reporting reduced levels.
Future indexes suggested that manufacturers in New York State were expecting conditions to improve further in the months ahead. The future general business conditions index was slightly lower than last month, but remained at a relatively high level of 52.8, with 60 percent of respondents expecting conditions to improve over the next six months.
Here is a chart of the data:
Note the overall number is well withing the range associated with an economic expansion.
The regional manufacturing reports were some of the original economic numbers that caught my eye and got me thinking the economy was turning around.