Manufacturing activity growth in New York State slowed in March for a second month, as the pace of new orders contracted to its weakest level since November 2013,
The New York Federal Reserve’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey released Monday found general business conditions fell to 6.90 in March from February’s 7.78. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 8.0 this month, but any reading above zero still indicates expansion.
However, the new orders index dropped to -2.39 in March from 1.22 in February, while the prices paid index fell two points down to 12.37 from prior month’s 14.61. January’s prices paid was the highest reading since September.
The pace of growth in employment rose to 18.56, which was the strongest reading since May 2014, and up from 10.11 in February.
The index of business conditions six months ahead bounced up to 30.72 from 25.58 in February, though the shipments index fell six points to 7.9, and the unfilled orders index fell seven points to -13.4. The delivery time index fell to -2.0, suggesting slightly shorter delivery times. The inventories index fell to -5.1, signaling that inventory levels were lower.
The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.