The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a report on Thursday showing a downturn in regional manufacturing activity in the month of December.
The New York Fed said its general business conditions index tumbled to a negative 11.2 in December from a positive 4.5 in November, with a negative reading indicating a contraction. Economists had expected the index to drop to a negative 1.0.
The report showed new orders contracted at a slightly faster rate, as the new orders index edged down to a negative 3.6 in December from a negative 3.3 in November.
The shipments index also fell to 5.3 in December from 8.0 in November, but a positive reading still indicates growth.
Meanwhile, the number of employees index inched up to 14.0 in December from 12.2 in November, indicating a modest acceleration in the pace of job growth.
The report also showed the prices paid index was unchanged from the previous month at 50.5, while the prices received index dipped to 25.2 in December from 27.2 in November.
Looking ahead, the New York Fed said firms expect some improvement in business conditions over the next six months but noted optimism was very subdued.
The index for future business conditions jumped to a positive 6.3 in December from a negative 6.1 in November.
A separate report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Thursday showed Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity contracted at a slower rate in the month of December.
The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current activity rose to a negative 13.8 in December from a negative 19.4 in November. Economists had expected the index to climb to a negative 10.0.
Despite the increase compared to the previous month, the Philly Fed index remained negative for the fourth consecutive month.
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