The December 2012 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York manufacturers continued to decline at a modest pace. The general business conditions index was negative for a fifth consecutive month, falling three points to -8.1.
After rising above zero last month, the new orders index fell seven points
to -3.7, pointing to a small decline in the demand for manufactured goods. (…) the shipments index declined six points to 8.8. At 16.1, the prices paid index indicated that input prices continued to rise at a moderate pace, while the prices received index fell five points to 1.1, suggesting that selling prices were flat.
Employment indexes pointed to weaker labor market conditions, with the indexes for both number of employees and the average workweek registering values below zero for a second consecutive month.
Manufacturers were also asked about superstorm Sandy’s recent and expected effects on revenues: Downstate establishments estimated that revenues in October and November were 7 percent and 5 percent lower, respectively, than they otherwise would have been.
The decline in the new orders index is not too worrisome. It had risen in both October and November and its December decline is essentially due to the month-to-month math. In reality, the survey findings are positive after two consecutive improvements: 77.3% are unchanged or higher, up from 74% in November.