Manufacturing activity in the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's region "remained modest, and producers were slightly more optimistic than a month ago," according to the bank's monthly manufacturing survey, released Thursday.

"We saw continued sluggish growth from factories in our region in July," said Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. "New orders fell for the third time in four months, as exports dropped, and food prices are expected to rise.  But firms continued to add to their workforces and anticipate increased capital spending heading forward."

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