June 2022 Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey
Note: Survey responses were collected from June 6 to June 13.
Manufacturing activity in the region weakened, according to the firms responding to the June Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey. The indicators for current activity and new orders turned negative, and the shipments index also declined but remained positive. However, the firms reported continued increases in employment. Both price indexes declined but remained elevated. Expectations for growth over the next six months deteriorated, as the future general activity, new orders, and shipment indexes fell sharply.
Current Indicators Weaken
The diffusion index for current general activity declined for the third consecutive month, falling 6 points to -3.3. This is the index’s first negative reading since May 2020 (see Chart 1). Although most firms reported no change in activity (64 percent), the share of firms reporting decreases (20 percent) exceeded the share reporting increases (16 percent). The indicators for new orders and shipments decreased more sharply: The new orders index fell 35 points to -12.4, and the shipments index fell 25 points but remained positive at 10.8.
On balance, the firms continued to report increases in employment, and the employment index moved up from 25.5 to 28.1. More than 31 percent of the firms reported increases in employment, compared with 3 percent that reported decreases; 66 percent reported no change. The average workweek index decreased 4 points, to 11.8.
Price Increases Remain Widespread, but Indexes Decline
The indicators for prices paid and prices received continue to indicate widespread price increases but decreased this month. The prices paid index declined for the second consecutive month, down 14 points to 64.5 (see Chart 2). More than 70 percent of the firms reported increases in input prices, while 6 percent reported decreases; 24 percent of the firms reported no change. The current prices received index edged down from 51.7 to 49.2. Nearly 52 percent of the firms reported increases in prices received for their own goods this month, 2 percent reported decreases, and 46 percent reported no change.
Firms Report Higher Production and Capacity Utilization
In this month’s special questions, the firms were asked to estimate their total production growth for the second quarter ending this month compared with the first quarter of 2022. The share of firms reporting expected increases in first-quarter production (72 percent) far exceeded the share reporting decreases (9 percent). The firms were also asked about their current capacity utilization rate for the current quarter and one year ago as well as factors constraining capacity utilization in the current quarter. Relative to last year, a higher share of firms reported a utilization rate of 90 to 100 percent (16 percent versus 7 percent, respectively). The median current capacity utilization rate reported among the responding firms was 80 to 90 percent, slightly higher than what was reported for one year ago.
Regarding factors constraining capacity utilization in the current quarter, nearly all firms reported labor supply and supply chains as constraints to some degree, with similar shares indicating each factor significantly constrained utilization (40 percent and 42 percent, respectively). Looking ahead over the next three months, the firms were evenly split (21 percent each) over whether supply chain impacts would worsen or improve. Nearly 55 percent of the firms reported that energy markets were not acting as a constraint in the current quarter; however, 44 percent expected the impacts from energy markets to worsen over the next three months.
Future Indicators Decline
The diffusion index for future general activity decreased for the fifth consecutive month, to -6.8, its first negative reading since December 2008 (see Chart 1). Almost 42 percent of the firms expect activity to decrease over the next six months (up from 22 percent last month), while 36 percent expect activity to increase (up from 24 percent). The future new orders index declined 24 points, to -7.4, and the future shipments index fell 29 points, to 3.6. The firms continued to expect overall increases in employment over the next six months; however, the future employment index fell 19 points to 10.5. Over 20 percent of the firms expect to increase employment in their manufacturing plants over the next six months; 10 percent anticipate employment declines.
Responses to the June Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey suggest weakened conditions for the region’s manufacturing sector. The survey’s indicators for general activity, new orders, and shipments all declined, with the former two turning negative, but the indicator for employment moved higher. The price indexes declined but continue to suggest widespread increases in prices. The survey’s future indexes indicate deterioration in the respondents’ expectations for growth over the next six months, as higher shares of firms expect decreases compared with last month.
Special Questions (June 2022)
|An increase of:||% of firms||Subtotals|
|10% or more||16.3||% of firms reporting an increase: 72.1|
|A decline of:|
|0-5%||7.0||% of firms reporting a decrease: 9.3|
|10% or more||0.0|
|Capacity Utilization Rate||2022:Q2
% of Reporters
% of Reporters
|Less than 30%||0.0||2.3|
|Median Utilization Rate||80-90||70-80|
Not at all
|COVID-19 mitigation measures||64.3||26.2||7.1||2.4|
Stay the same
|COVID-19 mitigation measures||2.5||85.0||12.5|
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