The December 2014 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business activity declined for New York manufacturers. The headline general business conditions index dropped fourteen points to -3.6, its first negative reading in nearly two years. The new orders index also fell into negative territory, tumbling eleven points to -2.0, and the shipments index fell to -0.2. Labor market conditions were mixed, with the index for number of employees holding steady at 8.3, while the average workweek index declined to -11.5. The prices paid index was little changed at 10.4, indicating a continued modest increase in input prices, while the prices received index climbed to 6.3.
Indexes assessing the six-month outlook were generally lower this month, but nevertheless conveyed considerable optimism about future business activity. The index for future general business conditions fell nine points to 38.6—still a fairly high figure by historical standards. The future new orders and shipments indexes declined to similar levels. The index for expected number of employees was 20.8, indicating that employment is expected to expand briskly, and the future average workweek index climbed to 12.5, its highest level in more than two years. The capital expenditures index fell twelve points to 15.6, and the technology spending index inched down to 17.7.