Thursday, March 15, 2012

Philly Fed and Empire State Manufacturing Surveys indicate slightly stronger expansion in March

by Bill McBride on 3/15/2012 10:00:00 AM

From the Philly Fed: March 2012 Business Outlook Survey

The survey's broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, edged slightly higher, from a reading of 10.2 in February to 12.5, its highest reading since April of last year ... The new orders index decreased 8 points, to 3.3, while the shipments index declined 12 points, to 3.5.
...
Firms' responses suggest a slight pickup in levels of employment this month. The current employment index, which has been positive for seven consecutive months, increased 6 points ... and the current workweek index decreased 7 points.
From the NY Fed: Empire State Manufacturing Survey
The general business conditions index was little changed in March and, at 20.2, indicated a continued moderate pace of growth in business activity for New York State manufacturers.
...
The new orders index inched down three points to 6.8, indicating a modest growth in orders. The shipments index fell five points to 18.2, revealing a continued increase in shipments, though at a slower pace than in February.
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The number of employees index rose two points to 13.6, and the average workweek index climbed 11 points to 18.5.
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Indexes for the six-month outlook were generally somewhat lower than they were last month, but held at levels that conveyed a high degree of optimism.
ISM PMI Click on graph for larger image.

Here is a graph comparing the regional Fed surveys and the ISM manufacturing index. The dashed green line is an average of the NY Fed (Empire State) and Philly Fed surveys through March. The ISM and total Fed surveys are through February.

The average of the Empire State and Philly Fed surveys increased slightly again in March, and is at the highest level since April 2011.

Both surveys indicated expansion in March, at a slightly faster pace than in February, and both were slightly above the consensus forecast.

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