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New York State Business Activity Plunges, Latest Survey Shows

Business activity fell dramatically in New York state as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the economy, according to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey for April.

Respondents to the survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported weak conditions across many categories, with new orders, shipments, employment and the average workweek all contracting at record paces.

“Though current conditions were extremely weak, firms expected conditions to be slightly better six months from now,” according to the federal reserve bank’s analysis of the survey, which was conducted between April 2 and April 10.

The survey’s general business conditions index fell 57 points to negative 78.2 for April. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal were expecting a negative 32.5 reading for April.

The drop in April was the survey’s largest point drop to its lowest level on record, the federal reserve bank said.

The index looking at expected general business conditions six months ahead ticked up 6 points to 7. The indexes for future new orders and future shipments fell but remained in positive territory, an indication that firms expect orders and shipments to be modestly higher in six months compared to April’s level.

Both the capital and technology spending indexes also dropped, signaling companies plan to cut back on such expenditures.
Source: Dow Jones

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