New York Manufacturing Activity Reaches Pre-Pandemic Levels - NY Fed

Economic activity of New York State's manufacturing sector recovered to pre-pandemic levels in July as the region continued to reopen, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed Wednesday.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey's general business conditions index jumped to 17.2 in July, up from the minus 0.2 reading in June.

Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected the indicator to be at a slightly lower level of 15.0.

July marks the third consecutive month of improvement for New York manufacturing activity, which registered in April its lowest level in the two-decade history of the survey amid the coronavirus pandemic, with a reading of minus 78.2.

The strong gains in the last three months offset March and April's steep falls and leave the index in expansion territory and over February's pre-pandemic levels of 12.9.

"Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity increased in July, marking the first such pickup since the pandemic began," the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said.

The survey is sent to the same pool of about 200 manufacturing executives in New York state. Participants from across the state in a variety of industries respond to a questionnaire and report the change in several indicators from the previous month. A positive index reading means activity is expanding, while a negative reading indicates contraction.

In July, 41% of respondents in the survey conducted between July 2 and July 9 said conditions had improved in the month, while 24% reported that conditions had worsened.

The new orders index rose 14.5 points to 13.9, indicating that orders increased, and the shipments index climbed 15.2 points to 18.5, pointing to a solid increase in shipments, data showed.

The index for number of employees edged up to 0.4, signaling that employment levels were steady. Twenty-two percent of firms said employment levels increased in July, although a same proportion reported a decrease.

The prices paid index was little changed at 14.9, indicating that input prices increased at about the same pace as in June. The prices received index moved down to minus 4.5, indicating that selling prices declined, the NY Fed said.

Optimism among manufacturing firms in New York State declined in July to 38.4 from the decade high level registered in June, suggesting firms remained optimistic though less so than the prior month.

Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at xavier.fontdegloria@wsj.com


  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  07-15-20 0847ET
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