The Empire State Manufacturing Survey showed manufacturing activity "declined at a modest pace" in New York State, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported Thursday as the general business conditions index improved to negative 5.22 in November from negative 6.16 in October.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected the index would slip to negative 6.20.

The new orders index rose to positive 3.08 from negative 8.97, while the shipments index soared to positive 14.59 from negative 6.40, and unfilled orders climbed to negative 11.24 from negative 18.28, the Fed said.

The delivery time index narrowed to negative 1.12 from negative 4.30, while the inventories index decreased to negative 12.36 from negative 2.15 in the prior survey. The prices paid index slid to 14.61 from 17.20, while the prices received index increased to 5.62 from 4.30. The number of employees index fell to negative 14.61 from negative 1.08, while the average employee workweek index slid to negative 7.87 from negative 4.30, the Fed reported.

Looking six months into the future, the general business conditions index decreased to 12.88 from 19.42 last month. The new orders index grew to 21.35 from 15.05, while the shipments index surged to 30.34 from 11.83, and unfilled orders climbed to positive 2.25 from negative 7.53, the Fed said. The delivery time index narrowed to negative 3.37 from negative 10.75, while the inventories index reversed to positive 1.12 from negative 4.30.

The prices paid index dropped to 39.33 from 44.09, while the prices received index fell to 15.73 from 24.73. The number of employees index dropped to negative 1.12 from zero, while the average employee workweek index bounced to zero from negative 11.83, the Fed reported. The capital expenditures expectations index grew to 8.99 from 6.45. The technology spending index slid to 5.62 from 7.53.

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