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Economy in Brief

U.S. Empire State Index More Negative
by Tom Moeller March 19, 2008

The March index of manufacturing activity in New York State fell to a more negative reading of -22.23 in March after a -11.72 February figure. Expectations were for -6.3. 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, shipments and inventories were deeply negative.

The employment index improved to a positive 4.49 from -2.11 in February. 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 rose to its highest level since June of 2006. 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 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 March February March '07  2007 2006 2005
General Business Conditions (diffusion index)   -22.23 -11.72  6.63 17.23 20.24 15.53
Prices Paid 50.56 47.37 30.23 35.64 41.88 44.74
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