Manufacturing activity in the northeast region of the country cooled in January, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY). Specifically, the general business conditions index fell from December’s upward-revised 19.6 print to 17.7, worse than expected and the weakest headline reading since July.
Under the hood, profit margins improved slightly, but measures of new orders, shipments, total employment, and hours worked all deteriorated in January. On the bright side, forward-looking (six months ahead) activity gauges generally improved, including an increase in the number of surveyed manufacturers citing plans to boost capital expenditures and technology investment. This might be a side-effect of the tax package recently passed in Congress, which could be confirmed by the other regional manufacturing reports released later this month.
Sources: Econoday, FRBNYPost author: Charles Couch