January 11, 2012
Federal Reserve Districts
|Skip to content
The Second District's economy has grown at a somewhat faster pace since the last report, led by brisk holiday-season spending. Labor market conditions, as well as prices, have remained generally stable. Manufacturers report modestly improved general business conditions and steady employment since the last report, along with increased optimism about the near-term outlook. Retailers generally characterize holiday season spending as robust, particularly in the final days before Christmas and right after. Auto dealers report that sales have remained strong since the last report. Tourism activity has held steady at a high level. Conditions have generally remained stable in the housing market, though the rental market has continued to improve. Commercial real estate markets have been stable to moderately stronger in late 2011. Finally, bankers report increased loan demand, steady to somewhat tighter credit standards, and lower delinquency rates across the board.
Auto dealers in upstate New York report that sales activity continued to be robust in November and early December, running well ahead of comparable 2010 levels--particularly for used vehicles. Inventories have risen along with sales but remain tight for some of the more popular models. Wholesale and retail credit conditions remain favorable.
Consumer confidence has rebounded from its October lows. The Conference Board's survey of residents of the Middle Atlantic states (NY, NJ, PA) shows consumer confidence rising sharply in both November and December, back up to the levels seen last spring. Results from Siena College's November survey of New York State residents (latest available) shows consumer confidence rebounding moderately. Tourism activity has held generally steady at a strong level since the last report. New York City hotels report that occupancy rates continued to run at just over 85 percent in November and the first few weeks of December--up moderately from a year earlier. Room rates were up 2-3 percent from a year earlier, and total revenues per room were up about 6 percent, though total revenues in the local hospitality industry are up considerably more due to an increased number of hotel rooms. On a more negative note, though, Broadway theaters report that attendance continued to run roughly 5 percent below year-ago levels in December, while revenues fell below comparable 2010 levels for the first time since the August hurricane.
Construction and Real Estate
Commercial real estate markets have been steady to somewhat stronger since the last report. New York City's office market has picked up in late 2011, with office vacancy rates edging down and asking rents rising. There were also modest signs of improvement in Westchester and Fairfield counties and in the Albany area, whereas office markets in northern New Jersey and western New York State appear to have slackened modestly. Industrial leasing markets were generally steady overall: conditions firmed in Long Island but showed some signs of softening across upstate New York; in the rest of the District, conditions were little changed.
Other Business Activity
Manufacturers across New York State report that general business conditions improved since the last report, and respondents have grown considerably more optimistic about the near-term outlook. Both manufacturers and other firms report that their selling prices remain flat, though a growing number expect to raise prices in the months ahead. Separately, a contact in the trucking industry reports that shipping tonnage (volume) has picked up considerably in recent months and was up 6 percent from a year earlier in November.