This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions continues to show strength, now at 25.6, up from 19.3 last month and at a multi-year high. The Investing.com forecast was for a reading of 17.0. The Empire State Manufacturing Index rates the relative level of general business conditions New York state. A level above 0.0 indicates improving conditions, below indicates worsening conditions. The reading is compiled from a survey of about 200 manufacturers in New York state.
Here is the opening paragraph from the report.
|The July 2014 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business conditions improved significantly for a third consecutive month for New York manufacturers. The headline general business conditions index climbed six points to 25.6, its highest level in more than four years. The new orders index was little changed at 18.8, while the shipments index rose nine points to 23.6; both indexes were at multiyear highs. The unfilled orders index fell six points to -6.8. The indexes for both prices paid and prices received were higher this month, indicating a pickup in the pace of price increases. Labor market conditions continued to improve, with indexes pointing to a solid increase in employment levels and a slight increase in hours worked. Although many of the indexes for the six-month outlook were significantly lower, conditions overall were expected to continue improving in the months ahead.|
Here is a chart illustrating both the General Business Conditions and Future General Business Conditions (the outlook six months ahead):
Click this link to access a PDF set of charts of the individual components over the past 12 months.
Since this survey only goes back to July of 2001, we only have one complete business cycle with which to evaluate its usefulness as an indicator for the broader economy. Following the Great Recession, the index has slipped into contraction multiple times, as the general trend slowed. It had remained in a relatively narrow range over the past year, but last two month have set consecutive interim highs.
Meanwhile, here's another look at the latest ISM Manufacturing Business Activity Index.
I'll keep a close eye on some of the regional manufacturing indicators in the months ahead.