The government shutdown has pushed most economic reports to furlough status, but a new survey from the New York Federal Reserve provides a much-needed peek at our economy -- and things aren't all that bad.

New York manufacturing growth may have slowed for October, according to a new report (link opens as PDF) released today by the New York Federal Reserve, but the sector is still expanding. 

Comprised of surveys from about 100 New York executives, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey attempts to determine whether certain components of manufacturing have experienced growth (positive number), or contraction (negative number). Investors watch New York manufacturing (and other regions, as well) as a possible signal of larger economic upswings or downturns. 

For October, overall numbers aren't overly optimistic, but the sector continues to grow. The survey's general business conditions index clocked in at 1.52 points, down from September's 6.29 reading. And even after four straight months of improvements, analysts had expected another month of increasing growth with a 7.00 reading. 


Source: New York Federal Reserve.  

But digging deeper, the report remains solid. The all-important new orders component jumped five points to 7.8, while shipments dipped a slight three points to remain strong at 13.1.

Manufacturers' six-month outlook also looks positive. The overall index clocked in just above September's 18-month high at 40.8 points, while new orders dipped one point to register strong growth at 37.0 points.


Fool contributor Justin Loiseau has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @TMFJLo and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFJLo.

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