NY Fed manufacturing declines for fifth month in December

NEW YORK Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:36am EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Manufacturing in New York state declined for a fifth straight month in December as new orders shrank and the labor market remained weak, the New York Federal Reserve said in a report on Monday.

The New York Fed's "Empire State" general business conditions index fell to -8.1 from -5.2 the month before. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of -1.0.

The new orders index fell to -3.7 from 3.1, while inventories were at -11.8 from -12.4.

Employment gauges were weak. The index for the number of employees came in at -9.7 from -14.6 and the average employee workweek index fell to -10.8 from -7.9.

The index of business conditions six months ahead rose to 18.7 in December from 12.9 in November.

The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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