New York Manufacturing Activity Unexpectedly Declines In May

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Business activity for New York manufacturers unexpectedly declined in the month of May, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Monday.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index slid to a negative 9.0 in May from a positive 9.6 in April. A negative reading indicates a contraction in regional manufacturing activity.

Economists had expected the index to show a much more modest decrease, with the consensus estimate calling for a positive reading of 7.0.

The steep drop by the headline index came as the new orders and shipments indexes also fell into negative territory, pointing to declines in both orders and shipments.

The new orders index slumped to a negative 5.5 in May from a positive 11.1 in April, while the shipments index tumbled to a negative 1.9 from a positive 10.2.

The report also said the prices paid index edged down to 16.7 in May from 19.2 in April, indicating a slowdown in the pace of growth in input prices.

The prices received index also fell to a negative 3.1 in May from a positive 2.9 in the previous month, suggesting a small drop in selling prices.
On the other hand, the New York Fed said the number of employees index inched up to 2.1 in May from 1.9 in April.

The indexes for the six-month outlook generally suggested that firms were somewhat less optimistic about future conditions than they were in April, the New York Fed added.

The index for future business conditions slipped to 28.5 in May from 29.4 in April, while the index for future new orders plunged to 22.4 from 36.6.

Thursday morning, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its report on regional manufacturing activity in May.

The Philly Fed Index is expected to climb to a positive 3.0 in May from a negative 1.6 in April, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity.

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