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Economy in Brief

Manufacturing activity in New York State grew in August but at the slowest pace in 2006. The Empire State Manufacturing Index of General Business Conditions, reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, fell 6.24 points to 10.34 in August. Consensus expectations had been for a lesser decline to 14.25.

Since the series' inception in 2001 there has been a 75% correlation between the index level and the three month change in U.S. factory sector industrial production.

The indexes for new orders & shipments remained positive and higher than previous month's indexes but unfilled orders went into negative territory. The index of inventories was negative for the third consecutive month. The index of employment was positive but remained at a low level, indicating a modest increase in employment.

Pricing pressure continued to ease. Since 2001 there has been an 88% correlation between the index of prices paid and the three month change in the core intermediate materials PPI.

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.

New York manufacturers were less optimistic in August. The Empire State index of expectations for business conditions in six months dropped 10 points to 35.20 with 48% of respondents expecting an improvement in conditions versus 57% during the previous month.

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 August July August '05 2005 2004 2003
General Business Conditions (diffusion index) 10.34 16.58 22.61 15.56 28.79 15.98
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