Conditions for New York manufacturers improved modestly for the fourth straight month in September, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Empire State Manufacturing survey shows.
The general business conditions index stood at 6.3—down almost two points from August, but still at a level indicative of modest expansion. Slightly more than 25 percent of respondents reported conditions had improved over the month, while 20 percent said conditions had worsened.
The new orders index edged up two points to 2.4, while the shipments index increased 15 points to 16.4. The unfilled orders index was little changed at -6.5. The delivery time index slipped to -4.3, but the inventories index rose nearly six points to 2.2, its first positive reading in more than a year.
The index for number of employees retreated three points to 7.5, and the average workweek index sustained a similar decline to 1.1. The prices paid index was little changed at 21.5, while the prices received index rose five points to 8.6.
The future general business conditions index rose three points to 40.6, its highest level since spring 2012. The indexes for both expected new orders and expected shipments rose eight points to about 38; both are up roughly 20 points since June.
In response to a series of supplementary questions, manufacturers reported their selling prices had risen by a little less than 1 percent, on average, over the past year, and they predicted an increase of 1.5 percent, on average, over the next 12 months.
When asked a separate question about the probability of specified price changes over the next 12 months, the average respondent cited a 44 percent chance that selling prices would remain within 2 percent of current levels and a 43 percent chance that they would rise by 2 percent or more, but just a 3 percent chance that they would rise by at least 8 percent.
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