The Empire State Manufacturing Survey general business-conditions index fell 11 points to 5.2 in April, its second straight monthly decline.
The index also fell two points in March after climbing 12 points in February to its highest level in more than two years.
However, April’s 5.2 figure is the survey’s sixth consecutive positive reading. A positive index level indicates expansion or growth in manufacturing activity, while a negative index reading indicates a decline in the sector.
The results of the April survey indicate that business activity “grew at a more subdued pace” for New York manufacturers, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in its news release issued Monday.
The survey found 35 percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 30 percent said that conditions had worsened.
The new-orders index, which had climbed to a multi-year high in March, “retreated sharply” to 7.0 in April, “suggesting more modest growth,” the New York Fed said.
The shipments index edged up to 13.7, indicating that shipments continued to increase “moderately.”
The unfilled-orders index edged down to 12.4, after reaching its highest level in more than a decade in March; however, delivery times “lengthened further,” with that index climbing to a “record high” of 16.1.
Labor-market indicators pointed to further increases in both employment and hours worked.
Input prices and selling prices “rose at a modest pace again this month.”
Indexes assessing the six-month outlook continued to convey a “fairly high degree” of optimism about future conditions, the report found.
The New York Fed distributes the Empire State Manufacturing Survey on the first day of each month to the same pool of about 200 manufacturing executives in New York. On average, about 100 executives return responses.
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Image credit: New York Fed website