The snow and ice are melted and the sun is shining, but manufacturing activity has yet to spring. In fact, it’s still contracting. In the latest report on Manufacturing from the NY Fed, manufacturing activity came in weaker than expected (-1.19 vs 7.0) and at its lowest level since December. This was also the indicator’s third straight monthly decline, which is the longest streak since late 2013.
The table below breaks down this month’s report by each of the individual sub components. Of the nine individual components, five declined and only four improved. The biggest gainers on the month were Shipments, Inventories, and Prices Paid. On the downside, the biggest declines were in the Average Workweek and Number of Employees. It’s only one indicator, and a secondary one at that, but this weakness doesn’t bode well for employment in the month of April.
The chart below shows the General Conditions index of the Empire Manufacturing report as well as expectations for conditions six months from now. Looking on the bright side, while the current conditions component of the report dipped into negative territory, expectations saw a nice improvement. Additionally, as the lower chart illustrates, plans for both Capital Expenditures and Technology Spending also both improved and have been steadily trending higher for the last year.