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Economy in Brief

Empire State Index Highest Since June
by Tom Moeller October 16, 2006

Unexpectedly, the October index of manufacturing activity in New York State improved to its highest level since this past June. The Empire State Manufacturing Index of General Business Conditions rose 9.1 points to 22.92 versus Consensus expectations for a slight decline to 11.3. The figures are reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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 employment, inventories and shipments led the improvement though new orders, unfilled orders and delivery times fell. The rise in the employment index was to the second highest level this year.

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.

Pricing pressure continued to ease. The prices paid index fell ten points to its lowest level in over a year. 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.

Expectations, however, deteriorated. The Empire State index of expected business conditions in six months fell another five points to its lowest level since May reflecting declines in most sub-indexes, except employment.

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.

The U.S. Treasury Yield Curve: 1961 to the Present from the Federal Reserve Board is available here.

Empire State Manufacturing Survey October September Oct. '05 2005 2004 2003
General Business Conditions (diffusion index) 22.92 13.84 15.02 15.56 28.79 15.98
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