New York manufacturing growth slowed down for August, 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 areas, as well) as a possible signal of larger economic upswings or downturns.

For August, the survey's general business conditions index fell back approximately 1.2 points, from July's 9.46 reading, to a worse-than-expected 8.24. Analysts had been hoping for even greater growth than in July, but their 10.0 prediction proved too optimistic.

Source: New York Federal Reserve 

Digging deeper, the all-important new orders index fell 3.5 points, to 0.3, while shipments dropped 7.5 points, to 1.5. Both unfilled orders and inventories components remain in the red. The labor market made the most improvements for August, with the employment index up 7.5 points, to 10.8. The average employee work-week component pulled itself out of contraction levels, moving from -7.6 in July, to 4.8 in this month's report.

Manufacturers' six-month outlook also remains positive. The overall index increased 5.4 points, to 37.4, while new orders took a slight one-point dip to a still-respectable 30.0.