A report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Monday showed a downturn in regional manufacturing activity in the month of October.
The New York Fed said its general business conditions index fell to a negative 4.6 in October from a positive 1.9 in September, with a negative reading indicating a contraction in activity. Economists had expected the index to drop to a negative 7.0.
Twenty-four percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while twenty-nine percent reported that conditions had worsened, the New York Fed said.
The pullback by the headline index partly reflected a downturn in new orders, as the new orders index slumped to a negative 4.2 in October from a positive 5.1 in September.
The report also showed a slowdown in the pace of growth in shipments, with the shipments index falling to 1.4 in October from 12.4 in September.
Meanwhile, the number of employees index climbed to a positive 3.1 in October from a negative 2.7 in September, indicating modest job growth following a decrease in the previous month.
The New York Fed said the prices paid index edged down to 25.5 in October from 25.8 in September, while the prices received index slid to 11.7 from 19.6.
Looking ahead, the index for future business conditions slipped to 23.1 in October from 26.3 in September, suggesting that firms remain relatively optimistic about future conditions.