Some very troubling language in the release: Results from the Business Outlook Survey suggest that regional manufacturing activity continues to expand in July but has slowed over the past two months. Surveyed firms reported a decline in new orders this month compared with June. Employment showed a slight improvement this month. The survey’s broad indicators of future activity continue to suggest that the region’s manufacturing executives expect growth in business over the next six months, but optimism has waned notably in recent months.The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, decreased from a reading of 8 in June to 5.1 in July. The index, although still positive and suggesting growth, has fallen for two consecutive months (see Chart). Indexes for new orders and shipments also suggest a slowing this month: The new orders index fell 13 points, to its first negative reading in 12 months, and the shipments index decreased 10 points but remained positive. Indicating weakness, indexes for both delivery times and unfilled orders fell and were in negative territory this month.
The index is now back to mid-2009 levels.
Deterioration virtually across the board, especially at the all important New Orders category.