The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is out with its March 2014 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. Monday’s report signaled that business conditions continued to improve for New York manufacturers, but the pace of growth remained modest.
The general business conditions index was little changed from last month, rising to 5.61 from 4.48 in February. The new orders index rose to 3.1 from -0.21 in February. The shipments index inched up to 4.0.
Also reported was that the unfilled orders index fell about 10 points to -16.5. Another reading was the inventories index, which advanced to 7.1, pointing to rising inventory levels. Both indexes prices paid and prices received declined but remained positive, indicating slower price growth (and little inflation).
On employment, the New York Fed said that employment indexes were positive and suggested a small increase in employment levels and hours worked. The problem is that the growth was only about half at 5.88 in March versus 11.25 in February.
Indexes for the six-month outlook were down somewhat from last month’s levels, but continued to convey a fairly strong degree of optimism about future conditions, and the capital spending index rose to its highest level in several months.
S&P futures were up eight points, and the markets seem more concerned about Crimea and Russia and a coming Fed meeting than one regional manufacturing report.