New York manufacturing growth is slowing significantly for April, according to a new report (link opens as PDF) released today by the New York Federal Reserve. 

Comprised of surveys from around 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 April, the survey's general business conditions index clocked in at just 1.29 points, down from March's 5.61 reading and significantly below analysts' expectations of a stronger 7.50. After soaring to a near two-year high at the start of 2014, this month's report puts growth back near the stagnant final months of 2013.


Source: New York Federal Reserve

Digging deeper, the all-important new orders index headed into the red, dropping from 3.13 to -2.77. Shipments fell a slight 0.82 to 3.15, while unfilled orders edged up 3.2 points to -13.27. In a sign of some optimism, employment increased from 5.88 to 8.16, although the workweek index fell 2.67 points to 2.04. 

Looking ahead, New York remains optimistic about its economy. Its forward-looking index (expectations six months ahead) expanded just over five points to hit 38.23, with increased growth expectations for shipments, unfilled orders, inventories, employment, capital expenditures, and technology spending. 

With today's report showing lackluster present growth, 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.