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You are not looking at an EKG; you are looking at the Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The spasmodic results of the survey tell a story by themselves. Respondents are generally confused. Remember, this survey is given to 200 manufacturing executives in New York State across multiple industries. No one industry dominates the respondent pool. The survey's main index, general business conditions, is not a weighted average of other indicators—it is a distinct question posed on the survey. Each index is seasonally adjusted when stable seasonality is detected. The reason we reiterate it's a survey is it's quantifying an opinion, and what we are seeing is confusion.
In October 2023, the index declined to -4.6 from 1.9 the previous month, indicating a dip in New York's business activity. There was a minor decrease in new orders (-4.2 vs. 5.1) and a steady shipment level. While unfilled orders dropped significantly, delivery times reduced, and inventories stabilized. Employment slightly increased along with the average workweek duration. Input prices remained consistent with the previous month, but selling prices decreased. Overall, companies retained a moderately optimistic perspective for the next six months.
There is a significant sentiment change in the forward-looking expectations, with many respondents expecting fewer new orders.
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