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A report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Monday showed an acceleration in the pace of growth in New York manufacturing activity in the month of March.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index climbed to 17.4 in March from 12.1 in February, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to rise to 14.5.

With the bigger than expected increase, the general business conditions index reached its highest level since hitting 21.2 in November of 2018.

The advance by the headline index was partly due to a substantial acceleration in the pace of growth in shipments, with the shipments index jumping to 21.1 in March from 4.0 in February.

On the other hand, the new orders index edged down to 9.1 in March from 10.8 in February, indicating a modest slowdown in the pace of growth.

The report said the number of employees index also dipped to 9.4 in March from 12.1 in February, pointing to a slowdown in the pace of job growth.

With regard to inflation, the prices paid index climbed to 64.4 in March from 57.8 in February, while the prices received index crept up to 24.2 from 23.4.

Looking ahead, the New York Fed said firms remained optimistic that conditions would improve over the next six months, anticipating significant increases in employment.

The index for future business conditions rose to 36.4 in March from 34.9 in February, suggesting that firms remained optimistic about future conditions.

On Thursday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is scheduled to release its report on regional manufacturing activity in the month of March.

Economists currently expect the Philly Fed’s diffusion index for current activity to come in unchanged in March after dipping to 23.1 in February.


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