This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions at 15.80 was a decrease of 6.7 from the previous month’s 22.50.
The Investing.com forecast was for a reading of 18.80.
The Empire State Manufacturing Index rates the relative level of general business conditions in New York state. A level above 0.0 indicates improving conditions, below indicates worsening conditions. The reading is compiled from a survey of about 200 manufacturers in New York state.
Here is the opening paragraph from the report.
Business activity grew at a solid clip in New York State, according to firms responding to the April 2018 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index, at 15.8, remained firmly in positive territory, although its seven-point decline from its March level pointed to a somewhat slower pace of growth. [source]
Here is a chart of the current conditions and its 3-month moving average, which helps clarify the trend for this extremely volatile indicator:
Click this link to access a PDF set of charts of the individual components over the past 12 months.
Since this survey only goes back to July of 2001, we only have one complete business cycle with which to evaluate its usefulness as an indicator for the broader economy. Following the Great Recession, the index has slipped into contraction multiple times, as the general trend slowed. 2015 saw a gradual decline that picked up in 2016 and 2017.
Here is an overlay of the current and future conditions (a six-month outlook).
Meanwhile, here’s another look at the latest ISM Manufacturing Business Activity Index.
Let’s compare all five Regional Manufacturing indicators. Here is a three-month moving average overlay of each since 2001 (for those with data).