NEW YORK, May 15 (Reuters) - Manufacturing activity growth in New York State accelerated in May after weakening for three consecutive months, as the pace of new orders improved from a multi-year low, a New York Federal Reserve survey showed on Friday.
The New York Fed’s Empire State general business conditions index rose to 3.09 in May from -1.19 in April, which had been the first negative read for the index since December.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to rise to 5.0 this month. A reading above zero indicates expansion.
The new orders index returned to positive territory to 3.85, rebounding from -6.0 in April, which was the weakest reading since January 2013.
The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.
Other gauges of New York’s factory sector, however, fell on the month.
Prices paid fell to 9.38, the lowest level since July 2012, from 19.15.
Employment gauges were mixed. The index for the number of employees fell for a second month to 5.21 from 9.57, but the gauge on average employee workweek moved to -2.08 from -4.26 in April
The survey’s index on future business conditions fell to 29.81 from 37.06.
Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli