New York Manufacturing Growth Unexpectedly Accelerates In May

New York manufacturing activity has picked up significantly in the month of May, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Wednesday.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index jumped to 17.8 in May from 10.1 in April, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to drop to 8.5.

With the unexpected increase, the New York Fed’s general business conditions index reached its highest level since November of 2018.

The unexpected increase by the headline index was partly due to a notable acceleration in the pace of shipment growth, with the shipments index surging up to 16.3 in May from 8.6 in April.

The new orders index also rose to 9.7 in May from 7.5 in April, indicating a modest acceleration in the pace of new orders growth.

On the other hand, the report said the number of employees index tumbled to 4.7 in May from 11.9 in April, pointing to a slowdown in job growth.

The prices paid index also dipped to 26.2 in May from 27.3 in April, while the prices received index slipped to 12.4 from 14.0.

Looking ahead, the New York Fed said manufacturing firms were significantly more optimistic about the six-month outlook, with the index for future business conditions spiking to 30.6 in May from 12.4 in April.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve is scheduled to release a separate report on regional manufacturing activity on Thursday. The Philly Fed Index is expected to inch up to 9.0 in May from 8.5 in April.

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