NY Fed Maintains Strong Manufacturing Trends, but Not in Employment

factoryThe November 2014 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity continued to expand for New York-area manufacturers. The headline strength in the general business conditions index was up a sharp four points to 10.2. Bloomberg and Dow Jones both had consensus estimates pegged at 10.3. This report was represented as indicating a pace of growth somewhat faster than the 6.17 reading from October.

The New York Federal Reserve also said that the new orders index was up by 11 points to 9.1, while the shipments index rose by 11 points to 11.8.

One note of caution may have been in the so-called number of employees, which fell to 8.5 but remained positive. This is simply slower growth in employment. The average workweek index was in contrast though, pointing to a decline in hours worked — also lowering the need for businesses to hire more and more workers.

Inflation remains tame via the prices paid index, which was little changed at 10.6. And the prices received index fell to zero, indicating that selling prices were flat.

Indexes for the six-month outlook were generally higher this month and conveyed a strong degree of optimism about future business conditions. The New York Fed said:

Rising four points to 10.2, the general business conditions index signaled that business activity continued to expand for New York manufacturers in November, and at a somewhat faster pace than last month. Nonetheless, the October and November readings for this index point to a downshift in the pace of growth compared with the May-September period, when the index averaged around 20. About 35 percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 24 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index bounced back into positive territory after dipping below zero last month.

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