[NEW YORK] Manufacturing activity growth in New York State slipped in February as the pace of incoming orders effectively stalled and a gauge of future activity plunged by the most in six years, a New York Federal Reserve survey showed on Tuesday.
The New York Fed's Empire State general business conditions index fell in February to 7.78 from January's reading of 9.95.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 8.5 this month. A reading above zero indicates expansion.
The new orders index dropped to 1.22 in February from 6.09 in January, while prices paid rose to 14.61, the highest since September, from 12.63 the prior month.
The pace of growth in employment decreased, with the index for the number of employees down to 10.11 from 13.68 in January.
The index of business conditions six months ahead dropped sharply to 25.58 this month from 48.35 in January. The drop in the index, 22.77 points, was the largest since January 2009.
The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.