Business activity continued to grow strongly in New York State, according to firms responding to the October 2018 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index rose two points to 21.1, pointing to a slightly faster pace of growth than in September. New orders and shipments both picked up noticeably. Delivery times continued to lengthen, while inventories held steady. Labor market indicators pointed to a modest increase in employment levels and no change in hours worked. Price indexes edged down but remained elevated, suggesting ongoing significant increases in both input prices and selling prices. Looking ahead, firms generally remained optimistic about the six-month outlook.
Activity Continues to Expand
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity index moved up two points to 21.1, suggesting that the pace of growth picked up slightly this month. Roughly 36 percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while only 15 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index and the shipments index both showed strong growth, with the first index moving up six points to 22.5 and the second climbing twelve points to 26.3. Unfilled orders decreased, inventories held steady, and delivery times continued to lengthen.
Employment Continues to Increase
The index for number of employees came in at 9.0 and the average workweek index fell to 0.2, indicating a modest increase in employment levels and no change in the length of the workweek. Price increases slowed somewhat but remained elevated. The prices paid index fell four points to 42.0, and the prices received index edged down to 14.3.
Firms Remain Optimistic
Firms remained moderately optimistic about the six-month outlook. The index for future business conditions was little changed at 29.0, and the indexes for future new orders and shipments pointed to continued solid growth. Employment was expected to increase in the months ahead, and the indexes for future prices remained elevated. The capital expenditures index came in at 16.0, and the technology spending index was 9.2.
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