As if the world needed yet another confirmation that the US economy is floundering (even if it means a new all time high for the now largely laughable farce formerly known as the S&P500), it just got it courtesy of the April Empire Fed Mfg Index, which dropped for the second month in a low to the lowest since January, printing at just 3.05, down from 9.24, and well below expectations of 7.00. Supposedly this too will be blamed on either balmy April weather, or Easter. The key New Orders index dropped from 8.18 to 2.20, which in itself may be insufficient to push the S&P to new all time highs, so the Shipments drop from 7.76 to 0.75 should definitely top the ES well into the green. The only piece of bad news for the "market" was the Number of Employees, which rose from 3.23 to 6.82. Although this may be one of those reports where bad data is great, but good data is greater.
From the report:
The general business conditions index was positive for a third consecutive month, though at 3.1, it suggested that conditions had improved only slightly. Twenty-five percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 22 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index posted a similar decline, falling six points to 2.2—an indication that orders were just slightly higher. The shipments index, down seven points to 0.8, showed that shipments were little changed. The unfilled orders index inched down a point to ?3.4, and the delivery time index also fell one point to ?3.4. The inventories index held steady at ?4.6, indicating that inventory levels fell slightly.
Finally, and as always, Empire Fed respondents were lamenting that all potential job workers are only qualified to play Call of Duty and collect unemployment and disability:
Responses in this month’s survey were not substantially different from those recorded either last April or in August 2011. As in the earlier surveys, workers with advanced computer skills were seen as the hardest to find: on a scale of 0 to 100, this task received a difficulty rating of 62 in this month’s survey— almost identical to its rating in earlier surveys. (See the table for a detailed explanation of this measure.) Finding workers who are punctual and reliable received the second highest difficulty rating; this rating climbed slightly from 54 in the survey conducted a year ago to 57 in the current survey. In general, difficulty ratings for most of the skill categories were a bit lower than in the April 2012 survey but about the same as in the August 2011 survey—an interesting comparison given that New York State’s labor market has tightened over the past year.
But, everyone knows how to tweet on their iPhone: isn't that a sufficient advanced computer skill?
Lastly, and most laughably, for the third year in a row employers keep expecting to keep their workers more, yet somehow never do.
Source: NY Fed