The Empire State Manufacturing Survey for April indicated continued manufacturing growth in New York State, albeit at a slower pace as the index declined 6.7 points to 15.8 (a reading above 0 indicates expansion).
In startling contrast, the Forward-Looking Business Conditions Index, based on NYS manufacturers’ expectations of conditions six months from now, plunged -25.8 points to 18.3 after just reaching a multi-year high in February. It is the largest one month drop in over 17 years since a fall of -61 points after the 9/11 Attacks. The reason(s) for this drop are not spelled out in the survey, but there are hints that worries about tariffs and a potential trade war are weighing on NYS manufacturers. Forward-looking indices for Prices Paid (+54.8 down -1.1 points) and Prices Received (+31.1 up 3.1 points) remained high, suggesting manufacturers expect both their input prices and their selling prices to remain high. However, every other forward-looking index fell, led by sharp drops in New Orders (down -24.5 points) and Shipments (down -24.8 points). See the full report here.