Empire State Manufacturing Survey Shows Continued Decline

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Business is still slumping in New York, a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Wednesday.

“Business activity continued to decline in New York State,” the New York Fed said in its monthly Empire State Manufacturing Survey.

The index of general business conditions in the state dropped roughly 19 points to -24.6 from -5.8 in January. New orders and shipments also saw a significant decline. New orders had plunged roughly 14 points from -7.8 to -21.7, while the shipments index also dropped approximately 14 points from 0.1 to -13.4.

Delivery times also shortened for the second consecutive month, which the Fed says suggested that supply availability improved and inventories were steady.

The inventories index moved down a little more than eight points, from 6.4 to -1.9, indicating that the inventory held steady.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey comes as the Department of Commerce released a report stating that Americans spent $697.9 billion at retail stores and online in February, which was down 0.4 percent from the previous month, after a revised 3.2 percent in January.

Looking ahead, businesses expect little improvement from these depressed business conditions over the next six months.

On the employment side, there was a bit of “bad news is good news.” Both the employment level and hours worked declined for a second consecutive month, suggesting falling demand for labor. The Federal Reserve is hoping demand for labor, which has far exceeded supply in recent months, will decline as it tightens financial conditions.

Both the prices of manufactured goods and their inputs continued to rise, although the pace of the increases slowed, suggesting some relief from inflation. In a separate report Tuesday, the Department of Labor said that consumer prices were up 0.4 percent in February. Still, compared to a year ago, consumer prices are up six percent, lower than the 12-month gain of 6.4 percent recorded in January.

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at jbliss@breitbart.com or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.


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