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The Empire Manufacturing index recorded in March its lowest reading ever, by falling to -78.2, a decline much larger than expected. Analysts at Wells Fargo point out the New York area was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, and it is also home to a number of corporate headquarters.

Key Quotes: 

“Highlights the damage wrought by necessary shutdowns.”

“All major subcomponents, including new orders, plunged. Delivery times rose, but only due to supply chains in disarray.”

“Expected business activity six months ahead actually rose, in anticipation of stronger demand this fall. 

“The plunge in the Empire Survey would translate to an ISM index of 35 or less. The Empire Survey may exaggerate the extent of weakness nationwide, however, as New York has been the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.”