Empire Manufacturing Posts Recovery in November

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The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for the month of November. It managed to show a small gain, as opposed to a prior loss and expectations for a slight loss.

Bloomberg had projected a −2.3 reading for November, and the actual report showed a gain of 1.5. It was better than all economists were expecting, as the Econoday range was −6.4 to −1.0. October’s report was −6.8.

What seems to be happening here is a rekindled growth reading after recent weak trends. After all, November was the first positive reading since July.

New orders were up at 3.1 in November, although the unfilled orders were in negative territory, down at −12.7. Shipments were up at 8.5, and that reverses two prior months of decline.

Some weakness persisted in employment. Labor market conditions remained weak, with the number of employees and average workweek indexes both at −10.9.

Inflation trends might be abating as businesses reported that their input costs and selling prices were up but were seen as moderating. This is suggesting a slower pace of growth in both input prices and selling prices.

The Empire Fed’s six-month outlook was down 7.1 points to 29.9.

New orders and shipments were quite positive. These rose to 3.1 and 8.5, respectively.

The inventories index fell 11 points to −23.6, pointing to a marked decline in inventory levels.

After the strong retail sales and after the election, some of the gains here might be less enthusiastic, because it is the Federal Reserve region around New York rather than a national reading. Either way, this reversed prior weakening trends. It also just may be one more move to give the Federal Reserve cover to raise interest rates in December.