Business activity declined, according to firms responding to the March 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index fell thirty-four points to -21.5, its lowest level since 2009. The new orders index dropped to -9.3, pointing to a decline in orders, and the shipments index fell to -1.7. Delivery times lengthened slightly, and inventories increased. Employment levelled off, and the average workweek declined. Input price increases were little changed, while selling prices increased at a slower pace than last month. Optimism about the six-month outlook fell sharply, with firms less optimistic than they have been since 2009.