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Economy in Brief

Empire State Index Slows 23 Points for August
by Carol Stone August 16, 2004

The Empire State Index of General Business Conditions in New York's manufacturing industries dropped 23 points in August to 12.6, its lowest reading in 15 months. The July figure was revised down slightly from 36.54 to 35.75.

All of the activity components of the survey showed significant reductions, particularly new orders and shipments. Unfilled orders registered -4.61, their first negative reading since September 2003. However, the employment measure managed a modest pick-up to 16.98 from 13.06 in July. 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.

The prices paid index eased from 56.41 in July to 49.59. This is still relatively high, but maintains the general range of the last several months, indicating that prices of the materials used by these companies have stopped accelerating.

The August index of expectations for business conditions six months ahead decreased by about 5 points. Expectations for capital expenditures fell for a fourth consecutive 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 8/03 2003 2002 2001
General Business Conditions (diffusion index) 12.57 35.75 13.02 16.30 7.02 -13.57
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