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Fed survey: New York economy declining

Federal Reserve index of manufacturers at lowest level in its 7-year history.

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By Ben Rooney, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Economic conditions in New York continued to deteriorate in November, with a survey of regional manufacturers released Monday coming in at its weakest level in its seven-year history.

The general business conditions index, a part of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Empire State manufacturing survey, slipped 0.8 point to a reading of minus 25.4 in November from minus 24.6 in October. But the reading was better than the minus 26 reading that analysts surveyed by Briefing.com had expected.

The prices paid index fell for the fourth month in a row, tumbling more than 11 points to 20.5, its lowest level in nearly five years. The prices received index declined nearly 15 points to a reading of 6 for the month.

New York's labor market weakened further in November. The part of the index that measures employee headcount plummeted more than 25 points to minus 28.9, its lowest level since 2001.

Looking ahead, the future general business conditions index fell 11 points to 13, with 40% of respondents anticipating improvement over the next six months and 27% forecasting a decline.

Firms also indicated that cash balances had declined and that credit standards remain tight.

Only 20% of respondents said their cash balances were higher than usual, while 30% reported lower than usual balances. The number of businesses reporting tighter credit conditions rose to 38% from 25% the month before.

The New York economy has been hit particularly hard by the crisis on Wall Street. The state faces a $12.5 billion deficit next year, and Gov. David Paterson has called the legislature into session Tuesday to decide on cutbacks.

In a sign of the challenges facing the state's economy, New York City-based Citigroup said it planned to cut more than 50,000 jobs.  To top of page

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