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Economy in Brief

Empire State Index Easier Again, Expected Conditions Off Sharply
by Tom Moeller May 15, 2006

The Empire State Index of General Business Conditions for May slipped further to 12.36 from an unrevised 15.81 in April. These levels are down sharply from the series' March high of 29.03 and are reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Consensus expectations had been for stability at 16.2.

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

Many of the index components improved in May with the exception of employment which fell sharply to its lowest level since February. Orders & shipments both recovered modestly from sharp declines during April.

Pricing pressure recovered to the highest level since February.

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 sharply to the lowest level since 2001 as expected pricing pressure rose and expected new orders fell.

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 May April May '05 2005 2004 2003
General Business Conditions (diffusion index) 12.36 15.81 -10.36 15.56 28.79 15.98
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