New York Manufacturing Drops to Lowest Levels Since 2020

by Michael Freeman

When COVID-19 came into our lives years ago, everything seemed to slow down and come to a crawl. Luckily, we seem to be bouncing back for the most part as cases continue to drop. However, that isn’t true for every sector regarding work. For example, New York manufacturing dropped this month to its lowest levels since 2020.

What we Learned

  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports New York manufacturing dropped to its lowest point since May 2020.
  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict heavily affected production there.
  • Oil prices and high inflation also contributed to lower production in New York.
  • Meanwhile, food manufacturing employment numbers rose last month.

Fox Business reported the news, stating yesterday the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed the general business conditions index fell to minus 11.8. This is the lowest it’s been since May 2020, when the pandemic really began affecting things. For reference, it was 3.1 last month. Any reading under zero illustrates deteriorating conditions and this month’s starkly contrasts what analysts forecasted, which was 5.5. Additionally, the new orders index dropped to minus 11.2 this month and the shipments index fell to negative 7.4.

So, what caused the massive dip? Analysts attribute much of it to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The United States and its European allies responded to the conflict with economic penalties and sanctions. These included targeting Moscow’s energy sector, removing many Russian banks from the Swift financial system, and blocking its central bank from selling foreign currencies in its reserve stockpile.

Further, the crisis there didn’t help already-high global inflation since it is hindering the world’s access to energy supplies. At one point, oil prices climbed above $107 compared to December when they averaged roughly $65 a barrel.

Nonetheless, analysts remain optimistic about New York’s manufacturing future, stating they predict the business condition index climbing 8.4 points within the next six months.

Food Manufacturing Employment Numbers Climb in February

While manufacturing jobs in New York plummeted recently, food manufacturing employment as a whole is luckily on the rise.

As many of us are painfully aware, food companies around the world suffered once COVID hit. Fortunately, they seem to be recovering, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stating employment at food manufacturing facilities increased 7,200 last month, bringing it to a total of 1.671 million workers. According to Food Dive, this is the third month in a row employment increased in the sector.

President and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association Geoff Freeman stated while this is a good thing, we must continue to get Americans back into the workforce. “If we want continued job gains, there must be a strategy to get more Americans into the labor pool,” Freeman said. “The unemployment rate obscures the millions of Americans sitting on the sidelines of the workforce — many of whom CPG companies would like to see join their ranks.”

As of this writing, there are still about 132,000 job openings for food manufacturing jobs, so if you’re looking, you may want to try there.