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New York state manufacturing index lowest in two years: NY Fed

A worker uses a belt sander on a piece of furniture at Casa Kids' Red Hook facility in Brooklyn, New York.
Craig Warga | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A worker uses a belt sander on a piece of furniture at Casa Kids' Red Hook facility in Brooklyn, New York.

Manufacturing activity in New York state contracted for the first time in nearly two years, a New York Federal Reserve survey showed on Monday.

The New York Fed's Empire State general business conditions index fell to -3.58 in December from November's 10.16 reading, falling to negative territory for the first time since January 2013.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 12.4 this month.

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A reading above zero indicates expansion.

The new orders index tumbled to -1.97 from 9.14 in November, while prices paid were at 10.42 against 10.64 in the prior.

The pace of growth in employment declined slightly, with the index for the number of employees falling to 8.33 from 8.51.

The index of business conditions six months ahead slipped to 38.58 from 47.61 the previous month.

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