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Empire State Survey: N.Y. manufacturing conditions ‘improve modestly’

By Eric Reinhardt


Business conditions for New York manufacturers continued to “improve modestly,” according to the July 2013 Empire State Manufacturing Survey that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York issued today.


The general-business conditions index rose two points to 9.5. The new-orders index jumped 10 points to 3.8, and the shipments index climbed 21 points to 9.0.


The prices-paid index fell four points to 17.4, pointing to a “slower pace” of input price increases, the New York Fed said in a news release.


At the same time, the prices-received index fell to 1.1, suggesting that selling prices were “little changed,” according to the New York Fed.


Employment indexes were mixed, the survey found, and indicated “little positive momentum” in the labor market.


The index for number of employees inched up to 3.3, while the average-workweek index remained negative at -7.6, according to the survey.


Indexes for the six-month outlook were generally higher, a sign that optimism about future business conditions had “strengthened,” according to the New York Fed.


A series of supplementary-survey questions also sought information about how the manufacturing firms are responding to the provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or the federal health-care reform law.


The survey found three in four respondents have not made, and do not plan to make, changes in their health plans.


About the same proportion indicated they have made minimal or no changes in their workforces, according to the survey. A somewhat smaller majority, or 65 percent, said they did not anticipate making any major staff-level changes over the next year.


Nearly 15 percent of those surveyed indicated that they would outsource more work, the survey found.


In addition, more than 85 percent of manufacturers said they expected their health- insurance costs to rise as a result of the ACA.


None anticipated a decrease, according to the survey.


The New York Fed distributes the 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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