Empire State Survey Continues to Reflect Contracting Activity

By October 15, 2012Economy

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that overall business conditions in its District remain weak, despite a slight gain this month. The index of general business conditions rose from -10.4 in September to -6.2 in October, with negative values indicating contracting activity.

While nearly one-quarter of respondents said that conditions were improving, almost 31 percent of them said the opposite. This was the third consecutive month that this index has declined.

Slowing new orders helped to slow overall activity, with sales in negative territory for four straight months. The new orders index went from -14.0 to -9.0 for the month. Other contracting measures included shipments, inventories, and employment.

The forward-looking measures suggest that manufacturers in New York expect positive growth in sales, shipments, and capital spending over the next six months. With that said, each of these indicators has pulled back a little in October, reflecting some diminished optimism. Employment is now not expected to grow in the months ahead, with the index for number of workers down from 8.5 to 0.

Overall, this is one more sign that that manufacturing economy remains soft at best. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey’s findings are consistent with other indicators, with weaker sales and economic uncertainties hampering growth.  

Chad Moutray is chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.

Chad Moutray

Chad Moutray

Chad Moutray is chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Director of the Center for Manufacturing Research for The Manufacturing Institute, where he serves as the NAM’s economic forecaster and spokesperson on economic issues. He frequently comments on current economic conditions for manufacturers through professional presentations and media interviews. He has appeared on Bloomberg, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox Business and Fox News, among other news outlets.
Chad Moutray

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