Tuesday’s release of the Empire Manufacturing report for the month of May came in better than expected with the headline index rising back up to 20.1 from last month’s level of 15.8.  Economists, meanwhile, were looking for a modest decline.  You may recall that in last month’s report, we saw expectations for conditions six-months from now come crashing down, but this month they saw a bit of a rebound.  Even after the bounce, though, the expectations components of the headline index and each sub-sector are still well off their levels from two months ago.

Plans for Technology Spending and Cap Ex also both saw sharp declines last month, and like the expectations index above, they rebounded in May, but are still well off their prior highs.

The table below breaks out each of the Empire Manufacturing report’s components on both a current and six-months out expected basis.  For both current conditions and expectations, May’s readings were mostly better than April.  One interesting trend worth noting is Prices Paid.  The readings for that component’s current conditions and expectations for six months from now are currently at 54.0.  As the chart below illustrates, though, it is very uncommon for both of these components to have similar levels.

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