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Report: Manufacturing activity continues to grow

Business activity among New York’s manufacturers continued its upward mobility in September, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey shows.

The general business conditions index held steady at 24.4, while the new orders index rose four points to 24.9 and the shipments index climbed four points to 16.2.

Labor market indicators pointed to a modest increase in employment and hours worked this month, while both input prices and selling prices rose at a faster pace than in August.

Looking ahead, firms continue to be optimistic about future conditions, with the index for future business conditions coming in at 39.3 and the index for future new orders edging up two points to 43.7. Manufacturers expect employment to increase modestly in the coming six months.

Separately, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a slight increase in both manufacturing and trade inventories and sales in July. The inventories to sales ratio moved down slightly from 1.4 in July 2016 to 1.38 in July this year.

An upwardly mobile inventory to sales ratio can in some cases signal a recession, as businesses accumulate goods and demand dries up. The inventory to sales ratio among manufacturers nationwide has declined since 2015, but remains much higher than pre-Great Recession numbers.

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

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