The Empire State Manufacturing Survey general business-conditions index fell 12 points to 10.9 in December.
The reading, based on firms responding to the survey, indicates “business activity grew at a slower pace than in recent months in New York,” the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in its survey report issued Dec. 18.
A positive index reading indicates expansion or growth in manufacturing activity, while a negative number shows a decline in the sector.
The survey found 30 percent of manufacturing respondents in the state reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 19 percent said that conditions had worsened. The 30 percent of respondents that indicated month-over-month improvement represents an 11 percentage point decline from November, the New York Fed said.
The new-orders index slipped 6 points to 14.5, and the shipments index fell 7 points to 21.0. Unfilled orders were “somewhat lower,” inventories climbed “modestly,” and delivery times were “slightly longer,” the New York Fed said.
The index for number of employees jumped 12 points to 26.1, indicating “very strong growth” in employment levels, while the average-workweek index was little changed at 8.0. The prices-paid index remained elevated but dipped 5 points to 39.7, indicating a “slight deceleration” in input price increases.
The prices-received index was little changed at 12.8.
Firms were “slightly less optimistic” about the six-month outlook than they were last month. The index for future business conditions fell 3 points to 30.6. The indexes for future new orders and shipments were also slightly lower, while the indexes for future employment and hours worked were slightly higher.
The indexes for future prices paid and future prices received edged lower. The capital-expenditures index moved up for a second consecutive month, reaching its highest level in several months, and the technology-spending index increased to 26.1.
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.