Manufacturing activity rose at a slower pace for December than in November, according to the December survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The general business conditions index was 23.1, down 3.5 points from last month, and the unfilled orders index fell to negative numbers. At -11.8 from November’s 10.2, the index was at its lowest point in more than a year. The inventories index also dropped, going from 3.8 in November to -7.9 for December.
The new orders index rose and shipments remained near November levels.
Employment indexes were high, despite a drop in the index for the number of employees from its November peak of 24.5 to 14.1 for this month. Future indexes were up as well, showing optimism.
Prices paid was at 28.1, its lowest in over a year. Prices received, at 13.5, was at the same level for most of the past year.
Manufacturers expected a 3.5 percent price increase for wages and a 7 percent increase for employee benefits for 2007, which is roughly the same increase they had expected for 2006. The cost of non-medical insurance costs, energy and other commodities were expected to increase by just over 5 percent, which is significantly less than the actual reported increases for last year.