Dow Jones – New York Manufacturing Activity Expands Further in March — NY Fed
By Xavier Fontdegloria
Manufacturing activity in New York state expanded in March at the fastest pace in eight months, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed Monday.
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey’s general business conditions index increased to 17.4 in March from 12.1 in February, the highest level since last July.
The reading beats expectations from economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, who had expected the indicator to increase to 15.
Data from March report show that manufacturing activity in the state grew for the ninth straight month, gaining further momentum compared with the previous months.
The survey is sent to the same pool of about 200 manufacturing executives in New York state. Participants from across the state in a variety of industries respond to a questionnaire and report the change in several indicators from the previous month. A positive index reading means activity is expanding, while a negative reading indicates contraction. The indicator has remained within expansion territory since July 2020.
In March, 34% of respondents said conditions had improved in the month, while 17% reported that conditions had worsened compared with February.
The new orders index was down slightly to 9.1 from 10.8 the previous month, while the shipments index soared 17 points to 21.1, its highest level since before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Delivery times index stood at 11.4, the fastest pace in a year and indicating that delivery times continued to lengthen. Inventories were somewhat higher, the NY Fed said.
The index for number of employees edged down to 9.4 from 12.1 in February, with about 21% of firms saying that employment levels increased while 11% reported a decrease. The average workweek index inched up to 10.9, signaling an increase in hours worked.
The prices paid index rose seven points to 64.4, reaching its highest level in a decade, and the prices received index was little changed from February’s two-year high. These indicators point to sharp input price and selling price increases, the report said.
Optimism among manufacturing firms in New York increased in March, with the index for business conditions rising to 36.4 from 34.9 in February.
The index for future new orders edged up slightly, while those for shipments and employment soared, the N.Y. Fed said.
“The index for future employment rose to its highest level in over 10 years, suggesting that firms widely expect to increase employment in the months ahead,” the report said.
Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 15, 2021 08:46 ET (12:46 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.