U.S. Economic Indicators

The April Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business activity grew modestly, as the headline index rose 6.0 points to 10.1, indicating that growth picked up somewhat but remained subdued.  The new orders index rose 5.0 points to 7.5, the shipments index edged up 1.0 point to 8.6, and the index for number of employees declined to 11.9; meanwhile, hours worked rose slightly after an unexpected decline last month. NY Fed Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the International Monetary Fund, backed by the U.S., is pressuring Germany and other advanced economies with budget surpluses to provide economic stimulus to prop up global growth. Germany has run an annual surplus since 2014, but is reluctant to launch a large-scale stimulus program that might discourage indebted countries like France and Italy from bringing their budgets into balance. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that global productivity growth faded in 2018 and is unlikely to pick up this year, dashing hopes that the digital revolution would help economies emerge from a protracted productivity slowdown. There was no increase in the overall efficiency of the global economy last year and no signs of an imminent productivity revival in either advanced or emerging economies. FT