Business activity in the New York region declined for the fourth straight month in November, the New York Fed said Monday, and showed few signs of improvement. The Empire State manufacturing index for November inched up to negative 10.7 from negative 11.4 in October. Many economists thought that there would be a smaller contraction in the index. A MarketWatch-compiled economist forecast had expected a reading of negative 6.5 for the index in November. This is the first time since early 2009 that the Empire State index has been below negative 10 for four straight months. New orders and shipments had smaller contractions in November while labor conditions worsened, with declines in both employment levels and hours worked. Indexes for the six-month outlook showed tepid optimism about the future.
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