Manufacturing conditions in New York State improved modestly in July -- as it had in June, 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 index rose two points to 9.5 for July. A reading above zero means that activity is improving. The number beat expectations, as economists polled by had predicted a reading of 5.9

The index has been positive most of this year, dipping into negative territory in January and May.

The New York survey typically acts as an early indicator of national manufacturing conditions for the month.

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