The July 2015 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business conditions improved slightly for New York manufacturers. The headline general business conditions index climbed six points to 3.9. The new orders index was little changed at -3.5, a sign that orders continued to decline, and the shipments index fell four points to 7.9. Labor market indicators signaled a small increase in employment levels and the average workweek. Price indexes pointed to modest increases in both input prices and selling prices, with the prices paid index reaching its lowest level in three years. Indexes for the six-month outlook suggested that optimism about future business conditions was slightly higher than in June, but in line with the trend over the past six months, expectations for improvement remained subdued.
BUSINESS CONDITIONS SOMEWHAT BETTER
After a slightly negative reading last month the general business conditions index rose six points to 3.9, according to the July 2015 survey. This index has moved in a see-saw pattern around zero for the past four months, indicating that business activity remains subdued. Thirty-one percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved, while 27 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index remained negative and, at -3.5, indicated a small decline in orders for a second consecutive month. The shipments index came in at 7.9, pointing to a modest increase in shipments. The unfilled orders index retreated three points to -7.5, signaling a decline in unfilled orders. The delivery time index came in at zero, indicating that delivery times were unchanged, and the inventories index fell 10 points to -8.5, a sign that inventory levels dropped.
Many of the indexes for future activity inched higher, but in line with the trend over the past several months, remained subdued compared with the levels recorded throughout 2014. The index for future business activity edged up a point to 27.0. The index for future new orders increased six points to 32.2, and the index for future shipments rose three points to 25.4. Indexes for future prices paid and received were little changed. The index for future employment declined for a fourth consecutive month to 9.6, but it still suggested that manufacturers expected employment levels to rise. The capital expenditures index climbed ten points to 21.3, and the technology spending index moved up to 10.6.