The bank's monthly report on manufacturing activity showed its index rose slightly, up 5 points to only 2.0 in August, "as the share of firms reporting an increase in activity (35 percent) barely exceeded the share reporting a decrease (33 percent)."
It's also only the third positive index reading for this year, the fed said.
Negative readings represent a contraction of activity, while positive readings indicate growth.
At the same time, the shipments index rose from 6.3 to 8.4. The percentage of firms reporting an increase in shipments (35 percent) was 6 points higher than last month, the bank said.
- The survey’s price indices suggest that both input prices and selling prices increased this month.
- Labor market indicators show weakness on that front. The sector's employment index fell 18 points to -20.0, which is its largest negative reading for the current year, the bank said.
While 67 percent of firms reported no change in employment this month, the percentage reporting decreases (25 percent) significantly exceeded the percentage reporting increases (5 percent), according to the report.
- Future indicators rose sharply from last month’s readings, however, according to the bank.
The survey’s index of future manufacturing activity rose 12 points to 45.8, which the fed called an indicator that the current weakness is expected to be temporary. That index is at its highest reading since January 2015, the report added.
"The respondents were confident about future growth, as their forecasts of future activity showed notable improvement," the report said.