Growth in New York state's manufacturing sector slowed slightly this month but the pace of hiring picked up and companies' outlook for the future brightened, a report from the New York Federal Reserve showed on Thursday.
The New York Fed's "Empire State" general business conditions index fell to 8.24 from 9.46 in July, shy of economists' forecast of 10.00. A reading above zero indicates expansion.
A slackening in demand in August helped account for the modest slowdown, with the new orders index slipping to 0.27 from 3.77 the previous month. Shipments fell to 1.47 from 8.96 and inventories moved up to minus 3.61 from minus 6.52.
But labor market conditions improved, with the index for the number of employees climbing to 10.84 from 3.26. The average employee workweek index jumped to 4.82 from minus 7.61.
Firms were also optimistic about the future. The index of six-month business conditions rose to 37.39 from 32.01.
The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.