The first indication on May conditions in the manufacturing sector is soft, as indications have been all year. The Empire State index came in at 3.09, below what were already weak Econoday expectations for 5.00. Shipments look respectable at 14.94 but are way ahead of new orders, at only 3.85, and even further ahead of backlog orders which are in deep contraction at minus 11.46. Employment growth is down as is the 6-month outlook, both pointing to a lack of optimism.
Price readings in this report stand out, pointing to even less pressure than in April with input cost inflation very subdued, down nearly 10 points to 9.38, and with virtually no price traction at all for finished goods, at only 1.04.
The manufacturing sector, hurt in part by weak exports, looks to be more and more of a drag at a time when economic growth is supposed to be on a springtime rebound. Next indication on the May manufacturing sector will be next Thursday with the Philly Fed report. Later this morning the industrial production report will offer the first definitive data on the April manufacturing sector.
The Empire State manufacturing survey offers the first glimpse of the month's manufacturing activity and has, like the factory sector itself, been flat going all the way back to the third quarter. No better is expected for May with the consensus calling for a pathetic plus 5.00.