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Economy in Brief

Empire State Index Stable
by Tom Moeller February 15, 2006

The February Empire State Index of General Business Conditions, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, was roughly stable at 20.31 following the 6.16 point January decline to 20.12. Consensus expectations for the factory sector index had been for the index to fall further to 18.0.

Since the series' inception in 2001 there has been a 76% correlation between the index level and the three month change in factory sector production.

Most of the index components showed the same stability in February. The shipments index dipped marginally after a 13 point rise during January but new orders fell for the second month. The inventory index recouped more than all of a sharp January decline.

An exception was the employment index which reversed about all of a sharp January increase.

Pricing pressure picked up during February as indicated by a 6.3 point jump to the highest level since November.

Like the Philadelphia Fed Index of General Business Conditions, the Empire State Business Conditions Index reflects answers to an independent survey question; it is not a weighted combination of the components.

The index of expectations for business conditions in six months fell a sharp 9.7 points to the lowest level since October. Expectations for future capital spending improved sharply.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey is a monthly survey of manufacturers in New York State conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Participants from across the state in a variety of industries respond to a questionnaire and report the change in a variety of indicators from the previous month. Respondents also state the likely direction of these same indicators six months ahead. April 2002 is the first report, although survey data date back to July 2001.

For more on the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, including methodologies and the latest report, click here.

Empire State Manufacturing Survey Feb Jan Feb '05 2005 2004 2003
General Business Conditions (diffusion index) 20.31 20.12 18.05 15.56 28.79 15.98
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