WASHINGTON – Business conditions in the New York region worsened severely in January, the New York Fed said Friday. The Empire State manufacturing index sank to negative 19.4 in January from a revised negative 6.2 in December. This is the lowest level for the index, a key early reading on manufacturing, since April 2009, near the end of the last recession. The index was below the MarketWatch-compiled economist forecast for a negative 4.5 reading. Orders and shipments plummeted in January. The six-month outlook was also very weak, dropping to 9.5 in January from 35.7 in December. This is the lowest level since early 2009.
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