The Empire State Manufacturing Survey general business-conditions index fell two points 16.4 in March.
The index had climbed 12 points in February to its highest level in more than two years.
The 16.4 figure is the survey’s fifth 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 March survey indicate that business activity “continued to grow at a solid clip” for New York manufacturers, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in its news release issued Wednesday.
The survey found that 34 percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 18 percent said that conditions had worsened.
The March reading followed the 18.7 index level in February, 6.5 in January, 9 in December, and 1.5 in November.
The new-orders index climbed to 21.3, its highest level in several years, pointing to a “substantial” increase in orders, the New York Fed said.
The shipments index moved down to 11.3, indicating that shipments increased at a “slower pace.”
The unfilled-orders index rose to 14.2, its highest level in more than a decade, and delivery times “lengthened.”
Labor-market conditions pointed to an increase in both employment and hours worked.
Input prices and selling prices increased at a slower pace this month.
Indexes assessing the six-month outlook, although “generally somewhat lower,” continued to convey a “high degree” of optimism about future conditions.
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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PHOTO CREDIT: Federal Reserve Bank of New York website