NEW YORK, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Manufacturing activities in the New York Region continued improving modestly in March, showed results of a survey released Friday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The Empire State Manufacturing Index stood at 9.24. Although lower than February's 10.04, it has turned positive for a second straight month since last July.
According to the survey, 29 percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 20 percent reported that conditions had worsened.
Specifically, the new orders index also remained positive for a second consecutive month, though the index fell five points to 8.18. Shipments index declined five points to 7.76, a sign that shipments rose at a slower pace in March.
However, the report showed U.S. labor market conditions were sluggish. After climbing above zero last month, the index for number of employees fell to 3.23, signaling a slight increase in employment levels.
Indexes for the six-month outlook pointed to an increasing level of optimism about future conditions. The future general business conditions index rose three points to 36.43, its highest level in nearly a year.
The Empire State Manufacturing Index closely watches manufacturing activity in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut. The New York Fed conducts the survey monthly and participants represent a variety of industries.
Readings above zero signal expansion. Manufacturing sector accounts for about 12 percent of U.S. economy.