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Empire State Manufacturing Up Slightly

The New York Federal Reserve said the general business conditions index from its Empire State Manufacturing Survey climbed up to register a 7.1 this month.
Author:

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Manufacturing activity growth in the New York area picked up a bit in August, according to a report released Monday, after factory conditions slowed sharply in July.

The

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New York Federal Reserve

said the general business conditions index from its Empire State Manufacturing Survey climbed up to register a 7.1 this month. Though that marks a two-point improvement from the July report, which fell to 5.1 from 19.6, the August reading didn't quite meet Wall Street expectations. Analysts were looking for the index to read 7.5 this month, according to the consensus provided by

Briefing.com

.

Typically, a reading above zero indicates growth in the sector, while a showing below the flatline suggests contraction.

The report, which is cobbled together using a survey of manufacturing executives around New York, showed several individual assessments deteriorated during the month. A reading on new orders, for one, fell into negative territory for the first time this year, dropping to -2.7 in August after hitting 10.1 in July. Shipments, too, swung below the zero mark after registering a -11.5 this month. Last month, the shipments index was holding at 6.3.

A measure looking at prices paid also dropped to a 20 reading, falling over five points since July, while a look at prices received remained negative at -2.9.

But the employment picture in the factory ranks appeared to brighten a bit, according to the report. A measure examining the number of employees improved by over six points to read 14.3 this month, the New York Fed said, while a gauge assessing the average workweek also swung into positive territory, jumping by almost 17 points to read 7.1 in August.

Stocks were off to a slow start after reports said

Japan's economy slowed in the second quarter. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was off by 67 points, or 0.7%, to 10,236 just after the opening bell. The

S&P 500

was also down by 8 points, or 0.8%, at 1071.

--Written by Sung Moss in New York