Against a background of some recent ‘better than expected’ macro prnts that bolstered the ‘soft landing’ thesis spurring stocks higher and rate-hike-odds lower, the Empire Fed Manufacturing Survey just stole the jam out of the bulls’ donuts.
The NYFed’s general business conditions index crashed nearly 22 points to -32.9 this month (twice as bad as the weakest analyst estimate).
Aside from the trough of COVID lockdowns in May 2020, this is the weakest print since March 2009, and has been in contraction in five of the last six months.
New orders dropped nearly 28 points to minus 31.1, also the lowest since May 2020 and marking the third-straight month of contraction.
Shipments plunged by a similar amount to the lowest since August.
Factory employment fell to its weakest level in more than two years, indicating that hiring has essentially stalled.
Moreover, an index of the employee workweek shrank to the lowest since August.
…but, but, but ‘soft landing’?