June 15, 2020 / 2:57 PM / 19 days ago

New York manufacturing activity unexpectedly stabilizes in June

FILE PHOTO: A woman runs past the Charging Bull sculpture in the Financial District as streets remain less busy due to the continuing outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Manhattan borough of New York U.S., May 5, 2020. Picture taken May 5, 2020 at 6:42PM. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Manufacturing activity in New York State stabilized unexpectedly in June after three months of broad weakness brought on by coronavirus-related business shutdowns, and companies’ six-month outlook shot to a decade high, the New York Federal Reserve said on Monday.

The regional Fed bank’s Empire State Manufacturing Index surged 48 points to a reading of negative 0.2 from negative 48.5 in May. Economists polled by Reuters were looking for a reading of negative 29.8, according to the survey median.

The report is among several recent readings that point to at least a stabilization in U.S. economic activity after it had been torpedoed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the social-distancing measures taken to contain its spread.

The U.S. economy fell into recession in February, and while the months ahead may continue to show sharp improvements from the worst levels in April and May, Fed officials expect the recovery overall to be long and uneven.

(GRAPHIC - Empire State COVID-19 bounce back: here)

The New York Fed said 36% of respondents reported improved conditions in June, although an equal percentage reported poorer conditions. The new orders index rose 42 points to near zero, indicating the quantity of orders was unchanged from last month, while shipments increased slightly.

The survey’s forward-looking indicators all improved sharply.

The index for future business conditions rose 27 points to 56.5, its highest level since October 2009. The indexes for future new orders and future shipments also posted significant increases. The index for future employment rose to 19, the highest since August, suggesting firms expect to increase employment in the months ahead.

Reporting by Dan Burns, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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