New York manufacturing conditions improved less than economists expected in January as the general business conditions index of the Empire State Manufacturing Survey rose to 11.92 from a December reading of 9.89.

Results for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey were released Tuesday. Economists expected the index to reach 12.75, according to the median estimate in a Thomson Reuters survey.

New orders surged to 12.39 from 2.03, shipments jumped to 25.39 from 7.16, and unfilled orders improved to negative 11.58 from negative 18.18, according to the Fed.

An index for prices paid grew to 35.79 from 28.41 and prices received rose to 15.79 from 3.41.

The number of employees index increased to 8.42 from negative 3.41, and the average employee workweek rose to 2.11 from negative 14.77.

A gauge of future business conditions rose to 58.95 from 48.86 last month as a measure of new orders six months from now rose to 53.68 from 53.41. Future shipments fell to 52.63 from 53.4.

“Further gains in manufacturing will have to be driven by increases in final demands rather than inventory investment,” Steven Wood, chief economist at Insight Economics, said in a research note.

“Despite expanding activity, factory employment is little changed on a trend basis. Nevertheless, factory executives are extremely optimistic about a continuing expansion over the next six months.”

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