Empire State Manufacturing Activity Growth Unexpectedly Slows in March


Manufacturing activity growth in New York State slowed in March for a second month in a row as the pace of new orders contracted to its weakest level since November 2013, a New York Federal Reserve survey showed on Monday.

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The New York Fed's Empire State general business conditions index fell to 6.90 in March from February's 7.78.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 8.0 this month. A reading above zero indicates expansion.

The new orders index dropped to -2.39 in March from 1.22 in February, while prices paid fell to 12.37 from prior month's 14.61 that was the highest since September.

The pace of growth in employment rebounded, with the index for the number of employees rising to 18.56, the strongest since May 2014, from 10.11 in February.

The index of business conditions six months ahead bounced up to 30.72 from 25.58 in February.

The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.