by Bill McBride on 2/16/2010 08:30:00 AM
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The headline number showed improvement, but two key numbers to watch are new orders and inventories. The new order index fell, and the inventory index rose sharply - and the declining gap between new orders and inventory points to a possible future slowdown in production.
From the NY Fed: Empire State Manufacturing Survey
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York manufacturers improved at a healthy pace in February. The general business conditions index climbed 9 points, to 24.9. The new orders index fell, though it remained positive, and the shipments index inched downward as well. The inventories index rose sharply, to 0.0, its highest reading in considerably more than a year.Below is the general business conditions index. Note that the data only goes back to July 2001 (chart from Jan 2002). Any reading above zero is expansion, so this index shows manufacturing was expanding since August. (chart from NY Fed)
Employment indexes were positive for a second consecutive month, although at relatively low levels.