A Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey released on Monday revealed that manufacturing activity in the state of New York slightly decreased in October.
The headline business index for the “Empire State” manufacturing survey dropped 6.5 points from the previous month to negative 4.6, according to the New York Fed.
In comparison to economists' predicted negative six, that was only marginally better. A decline in activity is indicated by readings below zero.
An important indicator of demand, the index of new orders, dropped 9.3 points to -4.2 in October. To 1.4, the shipments index decreased.
The indicators of the labor market remained optimistic. The length of the workweek also grew, as did the measure of employment.
Both the cost side and the selling side of prices continued to rise, but the rate of inflation on the selling side slowed down.
Over the past few months, the index has been unusually volatile, bouncing from readings that are severely depressed to ones that are optimistic. Some analysts have been using three and six month moving averages to even out the month-to-month swings. Indicating a downward trend for the index, the general activity reading for the past three months dropped to negative 7.2 from negative 5.3 in the previous month and negative 3.8 in August. The six-month average is negative 7.6.
Positive 7.4 is the long-term average.
Businesses continue to be “relatively optimistic” about the future. Less than half of respondents believe that things will get better over the following six months. Although less than last month, new orders and shipments are anticipated to increase, and employment is anticipated to rise.
According to the Fed, the capital spending index remained stable at 9.6 and indicated that capital spending plans were still “somewhat weak.”
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