Manufacturing activity growth in New York State unexpectedly contracted in April, weakening for a third straight month as the pace of new orders fell to a multi-year low, a New York Federal Reserve survey showed on Wednesday.
The New York Fed's Empire State general business conditions index fell to -1.19 in April from March's 6.90. This was the first negative read for the index since December.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to rise to 7.0 this month. A reading above zero indicates expansion.
The new orders index weakened from -2.39 in March to -6.0. April's read was the lowest for the index since January 2013. Prices paid rose from 12.37 to 19.15, the highest level for the index since September.
The pace of growth in employment weakened sharply, with the index for the number of employees dropping to 9.57 from 18.56, which had been the strongest since May 2014.
The index of business conditions six months ahead rose to 37.06 from 30.72 in March.
The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.