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Empire State manufacturing index bounces back in July

By Eric Reinhardt


After a steep decline in June, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey general business-conditions index rebounded 13 points to climb to 4.3 and emerge from negative territory in July.

The general business-conditions index had plummeted 26 points to -8.6 in June, representing its “largest monthly decline on record.”

The July reading of 4.3, based on firms responding to the survey, indicates “business activity rebounded modestly in New York,” the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in its July 15 report. That beat economists’ expectations of an index number of 0.5, according to Econoday, a company that tracks economic reports.

A positive index reading indicates expansion or growth in manufacturing activity, while a negative number points to a decline in the sector. 

The survey found 30 percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 26 percent said that conditions had worsened, the New York Fed said.

Survey details

The new-orders index rose, but it remained negative at -1.5. The shipments index moved slightly lower to 7.2, “pointing to a small increase in shipments,” the New York Fed said. 

Unfilled orders declined for a second straight month. Delivery times were “somewhat longer,” and inventories fell.

After falling below zero last month, the index for number of employees slid further, dropping 6 points to -9.6, “pointing to a decline in employment levels.” The average-workweek index, at 3.8, signaled somewhat longer workweeks. 

The prices-paid index edged down 2 points to 25.5, suggesting a slightly slower pace of input price increases than last month. The prices-received index was little changed at 5.8, pointing to ongoing modest selling price increases.

Indexes assessing the six-month outlook were “generally somewhat higher” than they were last month. 

The index for future business conditions increased 5 points to 30.8, and the index for future new orders also moved higher. Firms expected increases in employment levels but no change in the average workweek in the months ahead. 

After posting a “substantial” decline last month, the capital-expenditures index rose 9 points to 19.0, and the technology-spending index inched up to 14.6.

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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