Manufacturers in New York say their business improved for the tenth consecutive month in May, according to The Empire State Manufacturing Survey.
The pace of improvement was slower than in April, and the level of optimism was noticeably lower in May than in recent months, the survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed.
The general business conditions index fell 13 points to 19.1, remaining positive, as did the new orders and shipments indexes. The new orders index fell 15 points to 14.3, and the shipments index tumbled 21 points to 11.3.
The unfilled orders index, at minus 7.9, was below zero for a second consecutive month. The delivery time index fell from a positive reading last month to minus 6.6, suggesting that delivery times have quickened. The inventories index dipped 10 points to 1.3, a sign that inventory levels remained relatively steady after growing in March and April.
The prices paid index needed to climb only 3 points to reach its highest level of the year, 44.7, with 46 percent of respondents reporting that prices had risen over the month, and 1 percent reporting that prices had fallen. The prices received index, at 5.3, remained near the levels of the past several months.
The index for number of employees climbed for a fifth consecutive month to reach 22.4, its highest level since 2004. Nearly a third of respondents increased employment levels in May. The average workweek index fell to zero, following four months of positive readings.
Future indexes suggest that activity is expected to expand further in the months ahead, the survey indicated. The future general business conditions index fell from 55.7 last month to 42.1. The future new orders and shipments indexes also declined, while the future unfilled orders index rose from zero last month to 18.4, a level more in line with readings prior to April. The future inventories index fell below zero for the first time since October of last year, suggesting that inventory levels were not expected to rise in the coming months. The future prices paid index was high and little changed, while the future prices received index rose several points, to 23.7. The index for expected number of employees held at a strong 29 while the future average workweek index was 5.3. The capital expenditures index advanced several points to 38.2, a multiyear high, and the technology spending index inched up to 21.
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