Conditions for New York manufacturers improved for the first time since the summer in the month of February, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Friday, with the index of regional manufacturing activity unexpectedly turning positive.
The New York Fed said its general business conditions index jumped to a positive 10.0 in February from a negative 7.8 in January, with a positive reading indicating an increase in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to climb to a negative 1.8.
With the much bigger than expected increase, the general business conditions index turned positive for the first time since July of 2012.
Amna Asaf, an economists at Capital Economics, said, "Despite the volatile nature of this survey, the rise in the headline index is very encouraging."
A turnaround by new orders contributed to the improvement in the sector, with the new orders index surging up to a positive 13.3 in February from a negative 7.2 in January.
The shipments index also climbed to a positive 13.1 in February from a negative 3.1 in January, indicating a rebound by shipments.
The report also showed that the number of employees index rose to a positive 8.1 in February from a negative 4.3 in the previous month.
The positive reading on the number of employees index points to the first increase in New York manufacturing jobs since September.
On the inflation front, the prices paid index advanced to 26.3 in February from 22.6 in January, while the prices received index dipped to 8.1 from 10.8.
The New York Fed also noted that the indexes for the six-month outlook were noticeably higher, with the future business conditions index jumping to 33.1 in February from 22.4 in January.
With the increase, the future business conditions index reached its highest level since coming at 41.3 in April of 2012.
by RTT Staff Writer
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