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Mon Jul 16, 2012, 11:57 AM

Manufacturing in New York Region Grew at a Faster Pace [View all]

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index rose to 7.4 from 2.3 in June. The median forecast of 51 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for an increase to 4.0. Readings greater than zero signal expansion in the so- called Empire State Index that covers New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut. The last negative reading was in October.

The figures may ease concern that factory production, which was bolstering the world’s largest economy, is faltering. At the same time, softening demand from Europe to China will likely weigh on exports of American-made goods and decelerating U.S. consumer spending may curb orders.

“The fact that manufacturing is still growing is good news,” said Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto, who projected a rise in the Empire index. “Any improvement, especially right now, should be welcomed. The sector is still contributing to economic growth.”

In a separate report, the Commerce Department said retail sales in the U.S. declined for a third straight month in June. The 0.5 percent drop followed a 0.2 percent decrease in May.



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