DEVELOPING: The Empire State Manufacturing Survey continued to grow at a solid pace in December, meeting the 18.0 consensus forecast.
New orders, at 19.5, remain extraordinarily strong and shipments are even stronger at 22.4. However, unfilled orders are in the negative column for a second month in row, at -8.7 following -4.6.
Labor expansion is slowing, to 5.1 for a 6.4 point decline. Another hint of slowing comes from 6-month expectations for new orders which are down a sizable 12.6 points to what is still however a very strong 41.1.
Still, after delivery times contracted in November they are now again increasing while input costs and selling prices are both on the rise, all signals of possible factory constraints and potential overheating.
Overall, factory activity in December will be essentially at maximum strength.