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New York Manufacturing Index Returns To Positive Territory In July

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Following four consecutive months of contraction, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a report on Wednesday showing New York manufacturing activity expanded in the month of July.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions soared to a positive 17.2 in July from a negative 0.2 in June, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to jump to 10.0.

The index returned to positive territory for the first time since February and reached its highest level since November of 2018.

The jump by the headline index came as the new orders index spiked to a positive 13.9 percent in July from a negative 0.6 in June and the shipments index surged up to 18.5 from 3.3.

The number of employees index also climbed to a positive 0.4 in July from a negative 3.5 in June, signaling employment levels were steady after falling in the previous month.

Meanwhile, the report said the prices paid index dipped to 14.9 in July from 16.9 in June, while the prices received index fell to a negative 4.5 from a negative 0.6.

The New York Fed also said firms remained optimistic about the six-month outlook, though less so than in the previous month.

The index for future business conditions tumbled to 38.4 in July after soaring to 56.5 in June, its highest level in more than a decade.

Noting New York was among the last states to reopen, economists at Oxford Economics said the report doesn't provide a particularly accurate depiction of national manufacturing.

"The broader national environment is deteriorating as a resurgence of coronavirus cases in other states is causing a renewed economic slowdown," the economists said.

They added, "Looking ahead, the manufacturing recovery will proceed at a much slower pace compared to the initial, partial snap-back phase."

On Thursday, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its report on regional manufacturing activity in the month of July.

Economists currently expect the Philly Fed Index to pull back to 20.0 in July after skyrocketing to 27.5 in June.

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