Man­u­fac­tur­ing in New York shrinks for fourth month

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

WASH­ING­TON: Fac­tory ac­tiv­ity in New York state con­tracted for the fourth straight month in Novem­ber, as a strong dol­lar and slow over­seas growth con­tin­ued to drag down man­u­fac­tur­ers. The New York Fed­eral Re­serve’s Em­pire State man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dex, re­leased Mon­day, edged up slightly to mi­nus 10.7, from mi­nus 11.4 in Oc­to­ber. Still, any fig­ure be­low zero in­di­cates con­trac­tion.

The sur­vey found that fac­to­ries cut jobs for the third straight month. New or­ders also fell, though at a slower pace. US man­u­fac­tur­ers have been ham­mered this year by a slow­down in China, the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy, weak growth in Europe and a stronger dol­lar, which makes US goods pricier over­seas. Fall­ing oil prices have also cut into or­ders for steel pipe and other drilling equip­ment.

There are signs the man­u­fac­tur­ing slow­down could be bot­tom­ing out. The over­all in­dex and mea­sures of ship­ments and new or­ders rose last month, even as they stayed in neg­a­tive ter­ri­tory. Other re­cent data have also sug­gested that fac­tory out­put could turn around. The In­sti­tute for Sup­ply Man­age­ment, a trade group of pur­chas­ing man­agers, said ear­lier this month that its mea­sure of new or­ders re­ceived by US man­u­fac­tur­ers jumped in Oc­to­ber. And a gauge of pro­duc­tion rose for the first time since July.

In the Em­pire State re­port, a mea­sure of em­ploy­ment ticked up slightly to mi­nus 7.3, from mi­nus 8.5.

A sep­a­rate cat­e­gory showed that New York man­u­fac­tur­ers are cut­ting back sharply on their stock­piles, which can slow pro­duc­tion in the short run. But re­duc­ing ex­cess goods in ware­houses and on store shelves can set the stage for a fu­ture re­bound if cus­tomer de­mand stays high, forc­ing com­pa­nies to re­stock goods. —AP

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