This morning saw one of the first looks at November activity with the NY Fed Empire Manufacturing report. Economists weren’t expecting much of a strong report to begin with as the consensus forecast for the headline General Business Conditions index was for a reading of 6.0 vs last month’s reading of 4.0. The actual reading actually showed a slight decline from last month, though, falling to 2.9. While the current conditions index declined, expectations actually saw a small boost rising from 17.1 up to 19.4.
One interesting thing to note is how little Empire Manufacturing has changed in recent months. With monthly readings of 4.3, 4.8, 2.0, 4.0, and now 2.9, the index has had a five-month range of just 2.8 points. In the history of the survey dating back to 2001, the only five-month window with a narrower range was in late 2011!
In terms of plans for Capital Expenditures and Technology Spending over the next six months, it was encouraging to see both of these readings rebound after falling sharply in recent months.
Finally, the table below shows the month/month change for each category of the Empire Manufacturing report in terms of both current conditions and expectations. What’s interesting to note about this month’s data is that while there was broad-based weakness in terms of current conditions, expectations rebounded, suggesting that manufacturers are expecting an upturn from current conditions. Sign up for Bespoke’s “2020” special and get our upcoming Bespoke Report 2020 Market Outlook and Investor Toolkit.