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Manufacturing conditions continues to decline at modest pace

Rochester Business Journal
November 15, 2012

Conditions for New York manufacturers declined for a fourth consecutive month in November, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey shows.
The general business conditions index was little changed from October at -5.2, with 24 percent of respondents reporting conditions had worsened and 19 percent saying conditions had improved.

The new orders index rose above zero for the first time since June, although it was slightly positive at 3.1. The shipments index surged 21 percentage points to 14.6, a 21-point increase and its highest level since May.

The unfilled orders index remained negative, but rose seven points to -11.2. The delivery time index rose three points to -1.1, indicating that delivery times were little changed. The inventories index fell 10 points to -12.4, a sign that inventory levels were somewhat lower. 

The prices paid index fell 3 points to 14.6, indicating a modest increase in input prices, and the prices received index held steady at 5.6.

Labor market conditions were noticeably weaker, the survey found. The index for number of employees fell 14 points to -14.6, a sharp drop to its lowest level since 2009. The average workweek index drifted down to -7.9.

Indexes for the six-month outlook were mixed.

The future general business conditions index fell to 12.9, its lowest level since 2009. The future new orders index, however, rose six points to 21.4, and the future shipments index climbed nineteen points to 30.3.

The future prices paid index dropped five points to 39.3, and the future prices received index fell nine points to 15.7.

Indexes for future employment suggest flat hiring and work hours.

In a series of supplementary questions about superstorm Sandy, roughly 21 percent of firms based in Upstate New York reported loss of activity because of the storm and in most cases, for no more than one day.

But in the New York City area, which includes Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley, 100 percent of firms reported some reduction in activity.

When asked how long their business was completely shut down or severely crippled, more than 90 percent of these downstate respondents indicated at least one day, and more than 40 percent reported this status as lasting for five days or more.

(c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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