U.S. Economic Indicators

The March Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity grew only slightly, as the headline index declined 5.0 points to 3.7, its third consecutive month below 10.0.  The new orders index fell 5.0 points to 3.0, the shipments index declined 3.0 points to 7.7, and the index for number of employees rose to 13.8; meanwhile, hours worked turned negative for the first time since 2016.  NY Fed Report

Industrial production rose 0.1% in February (up 3.5% Y/Y), after decreasing 0.4% (revised) in January.  Capacity utilization edged down 0.1 point to 78.2 in February.  Fed Report

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose 4.0 points to 97.8 in the preliminary March reading, and is down 3.6 points on the year. The Index of Consumer Expectations increased 4.8 points to 89.2, while the Current Economic Conditions Index rose 2.7 points to 111.2. UMich Report

U.S. News

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (“JOLTS”), a closely-watched measure of labor market health, indicated there were 7.6 million job openings at the end of January, unchanged from December.  Hires remained at 5.8 million while the quits rate was unchanged at 2.3%.  BLS Report

The Wall Street Journal reports that China made last-minute changes to a proposed foreign investment law to address forced technology transfer, hoping to bolster a compromise seen as crucial to striking a trade deal with Washington. The law would prohibit officials from divulging corporate secrets under threat of criminal prosecution. WSJ