The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said that economic conditions and employment trends in the region’s manufacturing sector showed modest improvements over the past few months after two years of decline. 

“To date, the manufacturing sector has been a key source of growth during the recovery. After an unusually steep decline from late 2007 to mid-2009, manufacturing output has grown rapidly over the past year, although the level of manufacturing output remains well below the previous peak,” William Dudley, the New York Fed’s president and chief executive officer, said during the bank’s quarterly regional economic briefing.

Economic activity in New York State, New York City, and Puerto Rico appeared to be recovering, while activity in New Jersey remained essentially flat, according to regional economists. While unemployment rates continue to remain high, there have been private-sector job gains in professional and business services, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality.

Though manufacturing employment has been declining, output has been growing across the region, resulting in significant gains in productivity. Manufacturing employment declined in June after an upturn in April and May in much of New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico.

Job growth has been strongest in and around New York City, including in Fairfield County, Conn., Buffalo, and Albany, even as Rochester and Binghamton have experienced some job loss during the past few months. Results from the Fed’s July 2010 Empire State Manufacturing Survey suggest that growth in the state’s manufacturing sector has slowed considerably but not halted.

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