Empire State Manufacturing Survey for April: Modest Growth, Difficulty Finding Workers with Math and Computer Skills

The New York Federal Reserve Bank’s April Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that manufacturing activity in New York State improved modestly. Although the general business conditions index fell fourteen points, it remained positive at 6.6.  Some Other Findings:

  • The new orders and shipments indexes also remained positive, but showed only a small increase in orders and shipments.
  • The prices paid index inched downward but remained high, and the prices received index climbed six points to 19.3.
  • The index for number of employees rose to its highest level in nearly a year, indicating a significant increase in employment levels, while the average workweek index fell to a level that indicated only a small increase in hours worked.
  • Future indexes remained quite positive, suggesting a strong and persistent degree of optimism about the six-month outlook.
In a series of supplementary survey questions—previously posed in August 2011 and March 2007—respondents were asked how much difficulty they had experienced finding workers proficient in mathematical, computer, interpersonal, and other workplace skills.  Interestingly, respondents reported at least as much difficulty finding workers with each of these skills than they did prior to the recession, in March 2007.