Manufacturing activity in New York State accelerated at its fastest pace in nearly five years in September, topping expectations for a far more moderate improvement, the New York Federal Reserve said in a report on Monday.
The New York Fed's Empire State general business conditions index rose to 27.54 from August's 14.69. The September reading is the highest since October 2009. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 16.0 this month. A reading above zero indicates expansion.
New orders rose to 16.86 from 14.14, while inventories continued to shrink, although at a slower pace, registering a reading of -7.61 versus August's -14.77.
The pace of growth in employment gauges slowed, with the index for the number of employees down to 3.26 from 13.64, while the average employee workweek index slipped to 3.26 from 7.95.
The index of business conditions six months ahead was little changed, clocking in at 46.72 compared with 46.76 in August, which had been the highest in 2-1/2 years. The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.