New York manufacturing growth edged up for March, according to a  report released today by the New York Federal Reserve. 

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 manufacturing in other regions as well) as a possible signal of larger economic upswings or downturns. 

For March, the survey's general business conditions index clocked in at 5.6 points, up from February's 4.5 reading. Although this signals stronger growth, analysts had expected an even greater improvement to 6.5.


Source: New York Federal Reserve.

Digging deeper, the all-important new orders index gained momentum, moving from -0.2 in February to 3.1 this month. Shipments also added on 1.9 points to reach 4.0, but unfilled orders took a 10.2-point tumble to -16.5. While overall employment growth dropped from 11.3 to 5.9, the "workweek index" increased 0.9 points to 4.7. 

Looking ahead, New York manufacturing growth is subdued but still looks strong. The six-month expectations index came in at 33.2, down slightly from February's 39.0 reading. New orders took a nine-point dip to 36, while employment shaved off 7.3 points to hit 17.7. 

With today's report coming in slightly under expectations, analysts will be keeping a close watch on Thursday's Philadelphia Federal Reserve report for any larger signs of trouble.


Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.