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Empire State Manufacturing Conditions Worsen Marginally

June 15, 2015

by Doug Short

This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions at -2.0 (-1.98 to two decimals) shows a decrease from last month's 3.0, which signals a slight decline in activity.

The Investing.com forecast was for a reading of 6.0.

The Empire State Manufacturing Index rates the relative level of general business conditions in 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 June 2015 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business conditions worsened slightly for New York manufacturers. The headline general business conditions index fell five points to -2.0, its second negative reading in the past three months. The new orders index fell six points to -2.1, and the shipments index edged down to 12.0. Labor market indicators pointed to a small increase in employment levels and the average workweek. Price indexes were little changed. At 9.6, the prices paid index remained near last month’s multiyear low, and the prices received index held steady at 1.0, indicating that selling prices were flat for a second consecutive month. The index for future general business conditions retreated in June, suggesting that optimism about future business conditions waned.

Here is a chart illustrating both the General Business Conditions and Future General Business Conditions (the outlook six months ahead):

Empire State Manufacturing

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. The latest reading is a 5 point decline from last month's short bounce back.

Meanwhile, here's another look at the latest ISM Manufacturing Business Activity Index.

ISM Manufacturing PMI

Let's compare all five Regional Manufacturing indicators. Here is a three-month moving average overlay of each since 2001 (for those with data).

Here is the same chart including the average of the five. Readers will notice the range in expansion and contraction between all regions - this averages out to approximately zero for the average, which is flat and neither expanding nor contracting.

Let's keep a close eye on some of the regional manufacturing indicators in the months ahead.

Here are the remaining four monthly manufacturing indicators that we track:

Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey (TMOS)

Kansas City Manufacturing Survey

Fifth District Manufacturing Survey (Richmond)

Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey