Empire State Manufacturing Survey Hits Highest Point in Several Months

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Business conditions in New York improved more than expected in February, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The headline general business conditions index climbed nine points to 12.1, the highest level since September. Economists had expected a rise to 6 from January’s 3.5.

The New York Fed said the reading indicated that business activity grew modestly in February. Thirty-two percent of respondents reported conditions had improved over the month, while 20 percent said conditions worsened.

New orders were up and inventories were higher, often a sign of optimism among businesses.

Employment levels and the average workweek increased, indicating a strengthening labor market.

Input prices rose at their fastest clip in nearly a decade, the New York Fed reported. Selling prices were up sharply as well. This suggest strong demand.

Companies in the state remain optimistic that conditions will improve over the next six months and capital spending plans “expanded noticeably.” The capital spending index rose to its highest level in over a year.

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