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NY manufacturing activity improves

Manufacturing conditions in New York State improved in February -- the first time in six months, according to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, a report of state manufacturing activity compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The general business condition index rose to 10, an increase of 18 points from January. The index had been in negative territory, meaning a decline in business activity for manufacturers since August 2012. The New York survey typically acts as an early indicator of national manufacturing conditions for the month.

Economists had expected the decline in activity to continue, estimating an index reading of around negative 2.0, according to

The new orders index, a sign of demand, increased 20 points to 13.3 -- the highest level since 2011.

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