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New York Manufacturing Index Unexpectedly Indicates Slower Growth

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Growth in New York manufacturing activity unexpectedly slowed in the month of March, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Friday.

The New York Fed said its headline general business conditions index fell to 3.7 in March after climbing to 8.8 in February.

While a positive reading still indicates growth in regional manufacturing activity, economists had expected the index to rise to 10.0.

The index remained below 10 for the third straight month, which the New York Fed said suggests growth has remained quite a bit slower so far this year than it was for most of 2018.

The unexpected drop by the headline index came as the new orders index slumped to 3.0 in March from 7.5 in February and the shipments index fell to 7.7 from 10.4.

On the other hand, the report said the number of employees index surged up to 13.8 in March from 4.1 in February, indicating an acceleration in the pace of job growth.

The prices paid index also jumped to 34.1 in March from 27.1 in February, although the prices received index slid to 18.1 from 22.9.

Looking ahead, the New York Fed said optimism about the six-month outlook was slightly lower than last month, with the index for future business conditions dipping to 29.6 in March from 32.3 in February.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its report on regional manufacturing activity in March next Thursday.

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