Business conditions improved modestly for a second consecutive month, according to the March 2013 survey. The general business conditions index held steady at 9.2. Twenty-nine percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 20 percent reported that conditions had worsened.
The new orders index was also positive for a second consecutive month, indicating that orders were higher, though the index fell five points to 8.2.
The shipments index declined five points to 7.8—a sign that shipments rose at a slower pace this month. The unfilled orders index was little
changed at -2.2. The delivery time index dropped four points to -2.2,
and the inventories index fell five points to -5.4.
Labor market conditions were sluggish. After climbing above zero last month, the index for number of employees fell five points to 3.2, signaling just a slight increase in employment levels. The average workweek index rose to zero, indicating that the length of the average workweek was unchanged.