Empire State Survey Improves in April 2011

According to the NY Fed, manufacturing conditions in the New York area improved in April 2011:

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York manufacturers improved at an accelerated pace in April. The general business conditions index rose for a fi fth consecutive month, reaching 21.7, its highest level in a year. The new orders index jumped 17 points, to 22.3, and the shipments index shot up 27 points to 28.3. The indexes for both prices paid and prices received rose to their highest levels in more than a year, indicating that price increases continued to accelerate. The index for number of employees climbed to 23.1, while the average workweek index edged down to 10.3. Future indexes continued to convey great optimism about the six-month outlook, and the capital spending and technology spending indexes were noticeably higher.

Econintersect looks at the unadjusted data of the survey.  In this case, the two most important elements new orders and unfilled orders (backlog) have gone in different directions.

Hard data has shown a continuous improvement of backlog since mid-2010 (analysis here).

There is very little seasonality in backlog.  Econintersect offers its usual warning about taking survey results seriously as it is not based on hard data.  In this case, it is likely the survey is in the ballpark as the economy is likely in a growth spurt right now.

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Manufacturing Continues Solid Growth in February 2011  by Steven Hansen