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August New York manufacturing activity at nearly 3-year high

Business activity in the New York manufacturing sector grew strongly in August, according to firms responding to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The general business conditions index for the month hit a nearly three-year high, climbing 15.4 points to 25.2 from July, with 42% of respondents noting that business conditions had improved in August, compared with 17% reporting worsened conditions.

The August new orders index gained 7.3 points over July to 20.6 and the shipments index rose to 12.4 from 10.5 in July. Inventories slid from 2.4 points to negative 3.1, indicating lower inventory levels.

The labor market bounced back after three straight months of declines as the index for number of employees rose 2.3 points over the month to 6.2, reflecting modest employment growth.

Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms were quite optimistic. The forward-looking business conditions index was up 10.3 points to 45.2 and the future new orders index edged up 7.9 points to 41.3.