New York manufacturing growth soared to a three-year high, according to a May report (link opens as PDF) released today by the New York Federal Reserve. 

Comprised of surveys from around 100 New York executives, The Empire State Manufacturing Survey attempts to determine whether certain components of manufacturing have experienced growth (positive number), or contraction (negative number). Investors watch New York manufacturing (and other regions, as well) as a possible signal of larger economic upswings or downturns. 

For May, the survey's general business conditions index clocked in at 19.0 points, a substantial 17.7 points above April's 1.30 reading. Analysts had expected growth, but their 5.0 estimate proved much too conservative. 


Source: New York Federal Reserve

Digging deeper, the index's strong overall gain proved well-spread across components. New orders reversed its contraction trend, going from -2.8 to 10.4. Shipments increased 14.2 points to 17.4, and unfilled orders managed to improve from -13.3 to -1.1. While the average employee workweek component hovered around 2.2, employment numbers jumped from 8.2 to 20.9. 

Looking ahead, it seems as if survey participants think growth is here to stay. The New York Fed's forward-looking business conditions index (six months ahead) increased 5.8 points to 44.0. 

Today's report coincided with surprisingly strong jobless claims and inflation reports, paving the way for economic optimists.

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