Manufacturing activity in New York state gathered momentum in May, according to a recent report.
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey general business-conditions index rose 8 points to 17.8 in May, its highest level since last November.
The index also rose 6 points to 10.1 in April after falling 5 points to 3.7 in March.
The May reading, based on firms responding to the survey, indicates “business activity picked up significantly in New York,” the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in its May 15 survey report.
A positive index number indicates expansion or growth in manufacturing activity, while a negative reading points to a decline in the sector.
The survey found 36 percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 18 percent said that conditions had worsened, the New York Fed said.
The new-orders index rose 2 points to 9.7, indicating an increase in orders. The shipments index jumped 8 points to 16.3, pointing to a strong pickup in shipments.
Unfilled orders inched higher, delivery times were little changed, and inventories were “somewhat below” last month’s levels, the New York Fed said.
The index for number of employees fell 7 points to 4.7, a level indicating that employment increased “only to a small degree.” The average-workweek index held steady at 4.4.
Price increases were similar to those seen last month. The prices-paid index was little changed at 26.2, as was the prices-received index at 12.4.
Manufacturing firms were “significantly more optimistic” about the six-month outlook than they were last month, the New York Fed said.
The index for future business conditions shot up 18 points to 30.6. The indexes for future new orders and shipments climbed to similar levels.
Companies expected solid increases in employment but no change in the average workweek in the months ahead. The capital-expenditures index was little changed at 26.2, and the technology spending index came in at 22.8, up slightly from April’s reading.
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 state. On average, about 100 executives return responses.