From Bloomberg News
Manufacturing in New York state unexpectedly accelerated in March as orders rose and costs declined, a Federal Reserve report showed today.
The Fed Bank of New York's general economic index for the month rose to 31.2 this month, the highest since July 2004. A number greater than zero signals a higher percentage of manufacturers reported an improvement in business than deterioration.
Manufacturing is gaining momentum as companies buy new machines and add to stockpiles to meet growing domestic and overseas demand, economists say. New York manufacturers said they plan to step up hiring, adding to the job growth that's fueling economic growth.
``The U.S. economy is ramping up,'' said John Herrmann, head of economic commentary at Cantor Fitzgerald LP in New York. ``We look for resilience in the manufacturing sector,''
Economists forecast the New York Fed's index to fall to 18.9 from an originally reported 20.3, based on the median of 46 responses in a Bloomberg News survey. Forecasts ranged from 12 to 22.5. New York state accounts for almost 5 percent of U.S. manufacturing.
The New York Fed report is watched by economists and investors for clues about the performance of manufacturing nationally, which accounts for about 13 percent of the economy.
The employment index rose to 21.8, the highest since May 2004, from 6. The new orders index rose to 29.2 from 27.1.
Unfilled orders rose to 15.0 this month from 3.8, and the shipments index rose to 38.7 from 32.2. The index of inventories rose to 10.3 from minus 2.8.
An index of prices received by factories fell to 12.8 from 21.5 in February. The index of prices paid for raw materials and energy fell to 40.2, the lowest since August, from 53.3.