By Xavier Fontdegloria


Factory activity in New York state declined in May, reversing a rebound in April, led by a contraction in the regional demand for goods, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed Monday.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey's general business conditions index decreased to minus 11.6 in May from 24.6 in April, the second negative reading in the past three months, and well below the 16.5 consensus forecast from economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

The index--which is based on a survey of manufacturing sector's firms in the region--signals a contraction of factory activity as a reading below zero suggests that business is declining.

May's decline of the index places it close to March's levels, when it fell to its lowest level since the first Covid-19 wave hit in spring 2020.

About 20% of the respondents said business conditions improved over the month, and 32% said that conditions deteriorated.

Demand declined markedly in May compared with April, with the new orders index falling to minus 8.8 from positive 25.1 and the shipments index decreasing to minus 15.4 from 34.5.

The index for number of employees increased to 14.0 from 7.3, suggesting that manufacturing firms continued to add jobs during the month.

Supply-chain snarls persisted but showed some signs of easing. The delivery times index fell slightly to 20.2 from 21.8, and the unfilled order index dropped to 2.6 from 17.3.

Inflationary pressures also cooled somewhat, according to the survey. After reaching a survey record-high in April, the prices paid index declined to 73.7 from 86.4, and the prices received index fell to 45.6 from 49.1. However, both indexes continue to suggest a broad-based increase in prices.

Optimism among respondents about the short-term outlook remained subdued, with the index for future business conditions increased slightly to 18.0 from 15.2. Increases in prices and employment are expected to continue in the months ahead, but the capital expenditures index fell to its lowest level in several months, the report said.


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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 16, 2022 08:44 ET (12:44 GMT)

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