Conditions improve for N.Y. manufacturers

By ANDREA DECKERT - 2/15/2013 1:24:24 PM

Conditions for New York manufacturers in February improved for the first time since the summer of last year, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey shows.

The general business conditions index rose into positive territory for the first time since July 2012, climbing 18 points to 10. Twenty-nine percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 19 percent reported conditions had worsened. The new orders index also rose sharply, climbing 20 points to 13.3, its highest level since mid-2011.

The shipments index advanced 16 points to 13.1, and the unfilled orders index rose six points to -2. The delivery time index moved up four points to 2.0; while the inventories index rose nine points to zero.

The prices paid index rose for a third consecutive month, advancing four points to 26.3. The prices received index inched down three points to 8.1. The index for number of employees rose for a third consecutive month, climbing twelve points to 8.1, its first positive reading since last September. The average workweek index remained slightly negative and was little changed at -4.

The future business conditions index rose 11 points to 33.1, its highest level in several months.

In a series of supplementary questions, manufacturers were asked about their 2013 capital spending plans and how the plans compared with actual spending for 2012. Roughly the same proportion of respondents indicated that they expected to raise as those who planned to lower capital spending this year. The median amount budgeted for 2013, however, was up 11 percent from what had reportedly been spent in 2012.

The most widely cited factor constraining 2013 capital investment plans was tax and regulatory considerations. In the February 2012 and 2011 surveys, more respondents had identified this as a positive than a negative factor.

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