New York area business activity shows signs of improvement in June

A man crosses a nearly deserted Fulton Street in the financial district of lower Manhattan in New York
FILE PHOTO: A man crosses a nearly deserted Fulton Street in the financial district in lower Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., April 3, 2020. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)


Business conditions in the New York region began to show signs of improvement in June, and companies have started bringing their staff back to work and feel slightly more optimistic about the near-term future, according to a report released Tuesday by the New York Federal Reserve.

Activity in the service sector, which has been severely affected by stay-at-home orders and shutdowns aimed at containing the new coronavirus, declined at a slower pace in June than it did in April and May, the survey of business leaders showed.

The employment index rose for the first time in three months but was still negative, in a sign that employment cuts continued but at a slower pace than the previous two months.

And for the first time since the pandemic began, business leaders said they were hopeful conditions would improve over the next six months. The outlook improved the most for businesses in retail, leisure and hospitality, and transportation and warehousing – all hit hard by the shutdowns, the New York Fed said in a blog post.

The report offered the latest evidence that the U.S. economy could be recovering after being thrust into a recession in February because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Manufacturing activity in New York State also stabilized unexpectedly in June after three months of broad weakness, according to a separate report released by the New York Fed on Monday.