The Empire State manufacturing index moved sharply lower in April, falling to negative 1.2 from 6.9 in March, the New York Fed said Wednesday. That was below the MarketWatch-compiled economist forecast for a reading of 7.0 after a 6.9 in March. This is the first negative reading, a sign of deteriorating conditions, since December. New orders fell further into negative territory in April, while the shipments index improved. The employment index lost ground but stayed positive while the average workweek slipped into negative territory. The six-month outlook improved to 37.1 in April after plunging to a two-year low of 26 in February.
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