The Empire State manufacturing index moved back into positive territory in May, but only barely. The index, a first reading of manufacturing conditions in the month, inched up to 3.1 from negative 1.2 in April, the New York Fed said Friday. That was below the MarketWatch-compiled economist forecast for a reading of 5.5. Orders also rose ten points into positive territory while shipments remained basically steady. The prices-paid index fell sharply to its lowest level in almost three years. But there was little optimism among manufacturers. The six-month outlook worsened to 29.8 in May from 37.1 in April, not far above a two-year low of 25.6 in February.
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