The New York Federal Reserve said the Empire State Manufacturing Survey has now beat the median forecast in 4 of the last 5 five reports. While general business conditions inched down two points to 16.4, it’s tracking at a 3-year high and still beat expectations by 1 point in March.
New orders are at an 8-year high and unfilled orders are at an 11-year high.
The subindex gauging labor market conditions indicated an increase in both employment and hours worked, boding well for wage growth. The index for number of employees rose to 8.8, and the average workweek index rose to 15.0.
Indexes gauging the six-month outlook also suggest firms remain highly optimistic about future business conditions. Employment and hours worked are expected to add to their gains this month in the months ahead, while the capital expenditures index increased to 23.9 and the technology spending index declined 8 points to 8.0.