Business activity in the New York manufacturing sector grew robustly in the month of March, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York revealed in a report on Thursday.
The New York Fed said its general business conditions index climbed to 22.5 in March from 13.1 in February, with a positive reading indicating growth in the manufacturing sector. Economists had expected the index to edge up to 15.0.
The bigger than expected increase by the headline index was partly due to a notable acceleration in shipment growth, as the shipments index jumped to 27.0 in March from 12.5 in February.
The new orders index also rose to 16.8 in March from 13.5 in February, indicating a modest acceleration in the pace of new orders growth.
Meanwhile, the report said the number of employees index edged down to 9.4 in March from 10.9 in February, suggesting a slight slowdown in the pace of job growth in the sector.
The New York Fed also said the prices paid index inched up to 50.3 in March from 48.6 in February, while the prices received index crept up to 22.4 from 21.5.
Looking ahead, firms remained optimistic about the six-month outlook, although the index for future business conditions fell to 44.1 in March from 50.5 in February.