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Empire State Manufacturing Drops 8 Points, But Positive

  • Written by Syndicated Publisher 1 Comment1 Comment Comments
    February 19, 2014

    This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions disappointed expectations, posting a reading of 4.48, down from 12.51 last month. The Investing.com forecast was for 9.0. The Empire State Manufacturing Index rates the relative level of general business conditions New York state. A level above 0.0 indicates improving conditions, below indicates worsening conditions. The reading is compiled from a survey of about 200 manufacturers in New York state.

    Here is the opening paragraph from the report.

    The February 2014 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business conditions improved marginally for New York manufacturers. The general business conditions index fell eight points, but remained positive at 4.5. The new orders index fell to about zero, indicating that orders were flat, and the shipments index declined thirteen points to 2.1. The unfilled orders index remained negative at -6.3. The prices paid index fell twelve points to 25.0, pointing to a slowing pace of input price increases, while the prices received index climbed two points to 15.0, suggesting a faster pace of selling price increases. Employment indexes were little changed, indicating a modest increase in employment levels and slightly longer workweeks. Indexes for the six-month outlook continued to convey fairly robust optimism about future conditions, even as the capital spending index fell ten points to 2.5, a multiyear low.

    Here is a chart illustrating both the General Business Conditions and Future General Business Conditions (the outlook six months ahead):

    Click this link to access a PDF set of charts of the individual components over the past 12 months.

    Since this survey only goes back to July of 2001, we only have one complete business cycle with which to evaluate its usefulness as an indicator for the broader economy. Following the Great Recession, the index has slipped into contraction multiple times, as the general trend slowed. It has remained in a relatively narrow range over the past year, with last month as the interim high.

    Meanwhile, here’s another look at the latest ISM Manufacturing Business Activity Index.

    I’ll keep a close eye on some of the regional manufacturing indicators in the months ahead.

    Images: Flickr (licence attribution)

    About The Author

    My original dshort.com website was launched in February 2005 using a domain name based on my real name, Doug Short. I’m a formerly retired first wave boomer with a Ph.D. in English from Duke. Now my website has been acquired byAdvisor Perspectives, where I have been appointed the Vice President of Research.

    My first career was a faculty position at North Carolina State University, where I achieved the rank of Full Professor in 1983. During the early ’80s I got hooked on academic uses of microcomputers for research and instruction. In 1983, I co-directed the Sixth International Conference on Computers and the Humanities. An IBM executive who attended the conference made me a job offer I couldn’t refuse.

    Thus began my new career as a Higher Education Consultant for IBM — an ambassador for Information Technology to major universities around the country. After 12 years with Big Blue, I grew tired of the constant travel and left for a series of IT management positions in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. I concluded my IT career managing the group responsible for email and research databases at GlaxoSmithKline until my retirement in 2006.

    Contrary to what many visitors assume based on my last name, I’m not a bearish short seller. It’s true that some of my content has been a bit pessimistic in recent years. But I believe this is a result of economic realities and not a personal bias. For the record, my efforts to educate others about bear markets date from November 2007, as this Motley Fool article attests.
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