Manufacturing activity in the New York region expanded in February at a faster pace than expected, the New York Federal Reserve Bank said on Feb. 16.
It was the seventh consecutive month of gains in the index, marking the longest expansion since the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 when the world's largest economy entered recession.
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 Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported.
The inventories index rose sharply, to its highest reading (0.0) in considerably more than a year, while the prices paid index was little changed from its high level last month. The prices received index remained just above zero for a second consecutive month.
Employment indexes were positive for a second consecutive month, although at relatively low levels. In a survey about recent and expected changes in workforce size and other employment measures 64% of respondents indicated that they expected their workforce to increase in the year ahead, while just 15% predicted declines.
This finding contrasts with last year's survey results, in which respondents expecting increases in the total workforce had outnumbered those expecting declines by just 45% to 40%.
Overall, when asked about the probability of various employment outcomes, respondents were considerably more optimistic than they were last year. The chance that their firms employment level would drop 5% or more was perceived to be 18%, on average, down from 34% in last Januarys survey.
Future indexes continued to show a high level of optimism about the six-month outlook.