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Economy in Brief

Empire State Business Leaders Survey Deteriorates
by Tom Moeller  February 4, 2014

The Business Leaders Survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is similar to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey. One set of numbers covers New York's service sector and the other the factory sector. During January, the figure for the Business Leaders Survey fell to 6.19, its lowest level since September. That compared to marked improvement in the factory sector reading.

Leading the survey lower was a reduced employment figure of 0.89, the lowest reading since April. Also falling sharply were the prices received and the wages indexes. Offsetting these declines was improvement in the business climate and capital spending numbers. The prices paid figure improved m/m but has been trending sideways since mid-2012.

The N.Y. Fed also generates the Business Activity Index, 6 months ahead. It improved last month to its highest level since February 2011. The gain was led by higher readings for the business climate, capital spending and prices received series. The employment reading ticked higher but has been range-bound for the last nine months. To the down side were wages and prices paid.

The Business Leaders Survey is contained in Haver's SURVEYS database. The figures are diffusion indexes which are calculated by subtracting the percent of respondents reporting poorer business conditions from those reporting improvement. Thus, they have a good correlation with growth in the series covered.

The latest report from the Congressional Budget Office can be found here.

Business Leaders Survey (New York Service Sector) Jan Dec Nov Jan'13 2013 2012 2011
Business Activity Index (Diffusion Index, %) 6.19 7.89 14.14 -1.23 4.07 -0.12 -1.45
   Employment 0.89 8.77 7.22 10.00 7.11 4.95 4.62
   Wages 26.55 28.95 32.65 33.33 34.16 31.05 35.80
   Prices Paid 48.67 -24.10 -17.11 -7.53 -8.74 -8.83 -5.29
Business Activity 6 Months Ahead (Diffusion Index, %) 46.90 30.97 27.27 22.50 28.43 22.45 26.47
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