Empire State business conditions improved marginally
The general business conditions index fell eight points, but remained positive at 4.5. The new orders index fell to about zero, indicating that orders were flat, and the shipments index declined thirteen points to 2.1.
The unfilled orders index remained negative at -6.3. The prices paid index fell twelve points to 25.0, pointing to a slowing pace of input price increases, while the prices received index climbed two points to 15.0, suggesting a faster pace of selling price increases.
Employment indexes were little changed, indicating a modest increase in employment levels and slightly longer workweeks. Indexes for the six-month outlook continued to convey fairly robust optimism about future conditions, even as the capital spending index fell ten points to 2.5, a multiyear low.
Business conditions improved marginally for New York manufacturers, according to the February 2014 survey. After rising ten points last month, the general business conditions index gave up most of those gains, falling eight points to 4.5. This month, 29 percent of respondents reported that conditions improved over the month, while 25 percent reported that conditions worsened.
The new orders index fell to near zero, declining eleven points to -0.2, suggesting that orders were flat. The shipments index fell thirteen points to 2.1, and the unfilled orders index was little changed at -6.3. The delivery time index rose to 1.3, indicating that delivery times held steady, and the inventories index fell to -5.0, pointing to a small decline in inventory levels.
The prices paid index rose sharply in January, but fell twelve points to 25.0 this month, indicating a slowing in the pace of input price increases. However, the prices received index moved in the opposite direction, climbing two points to 15.0, suggesting that the pace of selling price increases picked up.
Employment indexes were little changed from last month and pointed to a modest improvement in labor market conditions. The number of employees index was 11.3, indicating a modest increase in employment levels, and the average workweek index inched up to 3.8, suggesting slightly longer workweeks.
Indexes for the six-month outlook continued to convey fairly strong optimism about future business conditions. The index for expected general business conditions rose to 39.0, and the index for future new orders climbed six points to 45.3, its highest level in two years.
The index for future prices paid fell to 40.0, and the index for future prices received held steady at 23.8. The future number of employees index rose for a second consecutive month, reaching 25.0, and the future average workweek index fell to 7.5. The capital expenditures index fell ten points to 2.5, a multiyear low, and the technology spending index fell to 0.0. ■