A reading of New York-area manufacturing conditions tumbled in August to the worst reading since the recession, the New York Fed said Monday. The Empire State general business conditions index nosedived to a reading of negative 14.9, from positive 3.9 in July. The index, on a scale where any positive number indicates improving conditions, was far worse than the positive 4.5 forecast in a MarketWatch-compiled economist poll. The new-orders component sank to negative 15.7 from negative 3.5, and the shipments index sank to negative 13.8 from positive 7.9. Oddly, perhaps, the index for future business activity climbed seven points to 33.6.
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