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Economy in Brief

U.S. Empire State December Index Fell Sharply
by Tom Moeller December 17, 2007

The December index of manufacturing activity in New York State fell sharply to the lowest level since this past May. The level of 10.31 was half the expected 20. The figures are reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Since the series' inception in 2001 there has been a 55% correlation between the index level and the three month change in U.S. factory sector industrial production.

New orders and shipments fell sharply but employment improved slightly.

In the (perhaps too) short six year history of the NY employment index, there has been an 85% correlation between it and the three month growth in overall factory sector employment.

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 also fell to its lowest level since August. Since 2001 there has been an 81% correlation between the index of prices paid and the three month change in the core intermediate materials PPI.

The Empire State index of expected business conditions in six months improved but only slightly and remained near its lowest in six years.

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 December November Dec. '06  2007 2006 2005
General Business Conditions (diffusion index)   10.31 27.37  22.19 17.13 20.33 15.62
Prices Paid 35.00 42.86 28.09 35.64 41.88 44.74
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