N.Y. Fed report shows conditions improve for manufacturers

By ANDREA DECKERT - 7/15/2013 1:18:58 PM

Conditions for manufacturers continued to improve modestly, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey for July shows.

The general business conditions index remained positive for a second consecutive month, rising two points to 9.5. Thirty percent of respondents reported conditions had improved over the month, while 21 percent reported conditions had worsened.

The new orders index climbed above zero, rising 10 points to 3.8. The shipments index increased 21 points to 9.0. The unfilled orders index advanced six points to -8.7. The delivery time index rose to 3.3, and the inventories index remained below zero at -6.5.

The prices paid index dropped four points to 17.4, while the prices received index fell 10 points to 1.1.

Rising three points to 3.3, the index for number of employees showed only a slight increase in employment levels, while the average workweek index, still negative at -7.6, indicated hours worked fell.

The future general business conditions index advanced seven points to 32. The future new orders index climbed 11 points to 31.1, and the future shipments index rose 14 points to 34.4. The future inventories index fell 13 points to -19.6 in a sign inventory levels are expected to be lower.

In a series of supplementary survey questions, firms were asked how they expected the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to affect them and how they were responding to its provisions. Three in four respondents said that they have not made, and do not plan to make, changes in their health plans.

Roughly the same proportion indicated they have made minimal or no changes in their workforces; a somewhat smaller majority (65 percent) said they did not anticipate making any major changes over the next year. Nearly 15 percent of those surveyed indicated they would outsource more work.

A large majority of manufacturers, more than 85 percent, reported they expected their health insurance costs to increase as a result of the ACA; none anticipated a decrease.

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