The Empire State Manufacturing Survey general business conditions index declined to 2.9 in November from 4.0 in October.
The November reading, based on firms responding to the survey, indicates “business activity was little changed in New York,” the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in its Nov. 15 report.
A positive number indicates expansion or growth in manufacturing activity, while a negative index reading points to a decline in the sector.
The survey found 28 percent of New York manufacturing respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 26 percent said that conditions had worsened, the New York Fed said.
Economists had expected the November general business conditions index to rise to 5.0, according to a survey by Econoday, a California company that tracks economic reports. So, the report missed expectations.
The new-orders index edged up 2 points to 5.5, pointing to a “small” increase in orders, the New York Fed said. The shipments index fell 4 points to 8.8, a level indicating that shipments grew “more modestly” than last month.
The unfilled-orders index remained negative for a sixth consecutive month, indicating that unfilled orders “continued to decline.”
Delivery times shortened and inventories were modestly lower.
The index for number of employees edged up to 10.4, indicating that employment expanded for the third straight month. The average-workweek index came in at 2.3, indicating a “slightly longer” workweek.
Input-price increases continued to “decelerate,” with the prices-paid index moving down 3 points to 20.5. The prices-received index held steady at 6.2.
Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that optimism about future conditions “remained subdued.”
The index for future business conditions came in at 19.4. The index for future unfilled orders turned positive for the first time in several months, and inventories were expected to increase.
The capital-expenditures index jumped 10 points to 19.2, and the technology spending index increased to 15.1.
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.