The Empire State Manufacturing Survey showed "conditions for New York manufacturers continued to improve modestly," the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported Friday even as the general business conditions index slipped to 9.24 in March from 10.04 in February.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected the index would be 10.00.

The new orders index dipped to 8.18 from 13.31, while the shipments index decreased to 7.76 from 13.08, and unfilled orders widened to negative 2.15 from negative 2.02, the Fed said.

The delivery time index reversed to negative 2.15 from positive 2.02, while the inventories index decreased to negative 5.38 from zero in the prior survey. The prices paid index slid to 25.81 from 26.26, while the prices received index dropped to 2.15 from 8.08. The number of employees index fell to 3.23 from 8.08, while the average employee workweek index rebounded to zero from negative 4.04, the Fed reported.

Looking six months into the future, the general business conditions index increased to 36.43 from 33.07 last month. The new orders index grew to 34.94 from 29.11, while the shipments index rose to 41.60 from 26.82, and unfilled orders climbed to 6.45 from 2.02, the Fed said. The delivery time index reversed to positive 2.15 from negative 2.02, while the inventories index slipped to negative 1.08 from zero.

The prices paid index increased to 50.54 from 44.44, while the prices received index rose to 23.66 from 13.13. The number of employees index grew to 19.35 from 15.15, while the average employee workweek index fell to 2.15 from 11.11, the Fed reported. The capital expenditures expectations index rose to 15.05 from 14.14. The technology spending index grew to 18.28 from 11.11.

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