Manufacturing activity in New York state plunged to its weakest level in August since 2009 due to steep drops in new orders and shipments, although optimism on future business improved, a New York Federal Reserve survey showed on Monday.
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The New York Fed's Empire State general business conditions index tumbled from 3.86 in July to -14.92 in August, its lowest since April 2009.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to rise to 5.00 this month. A reading above zero indicates expansion.
The survey's index on future business conditions, however, rose to 33.64 from 27.04 in July.
The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.
The new orders index was in negative territory for a third month at -15.70 from -3.50 in July, while shipment activity declined to -13.79 from 7.88 in July.
The survey's gauge on the average employee workweek dropped to -1.82 from 4.26 and the index for the number of employees fell to 1.82 from 3.19.
The prices paid index fell to 7.27 from 7.45 July, while prices received fell to 0.91 from 5.32 the previous month.
(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)